Women Writers of the Gilded Age

Literary Period of Realism

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Chopin wrote both novels and short stories.

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"The Story of an Hour" Assignment

  1. Read the section titled "Context"and "Biographical information" (for Kate Chopin) preceding this assignment.
  2. Read "The Story of an Hour" (and the information following in the document), noting the inferences/impressions you make in regard to Mrs. Mallard's character as well as the extent to which she represents middle-upper class women of the Gilded Age.
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Gilman's Early Years

  • Born on July 3, 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Had a difficult childhood.
  • Her father, Frederick Beecher Perkins (relative to the writer Harriet Beecher Stowe) abandoned the family, leaving Charlotte's mother to raise two children on her own.
  • Her education suffered greatly due to her often transient family life.
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Marriage and Inspiration

  • Married to artist Charles Stetson in 1884 for 10 years
  • Had daughter named Katherine.
  • Experienced a severe depression and underwent a series of unusual treatments called the "Rest Cure".
  • This experience is believed to have inspired her best-known short story "The Yellow Wallpaper"(1892).

Women's Healthcare at the Turn of the Century

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Her Cause: Women's Rights


  • Successful feminist lecturer and intellectual
  • Called for women to gain economic independence
  • One of her greatest works of nonfiction: Women and Economics (1898)
  • Established The Forerunner magazine where she expressed her ideas on women's issues and on social reform
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Her Death

  • Married for the second time in 1900. She wed her cousin George Gilman, and the two stayed together until his death in 1934.
  • The next year she discovered that she had inoperable breast cancer. Committed suicide on August 17, 1935.
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"The Yellow Wallpaper" Assignment

Read each of the following:


1. Domesticity in Turn of the Century Literature


2. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


3. "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


4. After reading "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Story of an Hour," write a response comparing the two women in the stories and discussing the extent to which each represents a middle to upper-class woman in the Gilded Age. Type in Google Docs and submit through Classroom.