Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis project examines the literary work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman; in light of the xenophobic aspects of society in the 1920’s, namely the “Yellow Peril.” It argues that radical theories are present in the work of respected American scientists, political leaders, and authors of the time, and that Gilman, a feminist author, perpetuated these xenophobic ideas. This paper will focus on three of Gilman's major works, her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," the utopian novel Herland and its sequel With Her in Ourland, from the perspective of race. It considers the symbols and images stemming from the "Yellow Peril" that pervade these works, conveying the racist notions inherent in popular turn-of-the-century sociological constructs, including eugenics and social Darwinism. The project notes Gilman’s role and progressive attitude regarding the feminist movement and oppression in tension with her xenophobic and racist beliefs as they co-exist in her personal writing and literary work.
Mertsock, John S., "Racism and Xenophobia in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," Herland and With Her in Ourland" (2001). English Master’s Theses. 76.