Charlotte Perkins Gilman Quotes

1860 - 1935

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Fotosearch/Getty Images

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote in a variety of genres, including "The Yellow Wallpaper," a short story highlighting the "rest cure" for women in the 19th century; Woman and Economics, a sociological analysis of women's place; and Herland , a feminist utopia novel. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote in favor of equality between men and women.

Selected Charlotte Perkins Gilman Quotations

• And woman should stand beside man as the comrade of his soul, not the servant of his body.

• In New York City, everyone is an exile, none more so than the Americans.

• It is not that women are really smaller-minded, weaker-minded, more timid and vacillating, but that whosoever, man or woman, lives always in a small, dark place, is always guarded, protected, directed and restrained, will become inevitably narrowed and weakened by it. The woman is narrowed by the home and the man is narrowed by the woman.

• It is the duty of youth to bring fresh new powers to bear on Social progress. Each generation of young people should be to the world like a vast reserve force to a tired army. They should life the world forward. That is what they are for.

• To swallow and follow, whether old doctrine or new propaganda, is a weakness still dominating the human mind.

• Until 'mothers' earn their livings, 'women' will not.

• So when the great word "Mother!" rang once more,
I saw at last its meaning and its place;
Not the blind passion of the brooding past,
But Mother -- the World's Mother -- come at last,
To love as she had never loved before --
To feed and guard and teach the human race.

• There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver.

• The mother -- poor invaded soul -- finds even the bathroom door no bar to hammering little hands.

• The first duty of a human being is to assume the right relationship to society -- more briefly, to find your real job, and do it.

• Love grows by service.

• But reason has no power against feeling, and feeling older than history is no light matter.

• To be surrounded by beautiful things has much influence upon the human creature: to make beautiful things has more.

• We have built into the constitution of the human race the habit and desire of taking, as divorced from its natural precursor and comcomitant of making.

• The women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have the most money do the least work.

• There should be an end to the bitterness of feeling which has arisen between the sexes in this century.

• Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going on all the time.

• It will be a great thing for the human soul when it finally stops worshiping backwards.

• Two persons love in one another the future good which they aid one another to unfold.

• In our steady insistence on proclaiming sex-distinction we have grown to consider most human attributes as masculine attributes, for the simple reason that they were allowed for men and forbidden to women.

• George Sand smokes, wears male attire, wishes to be addressed as Mon frère; perhaps, if she found those who were as brothers indeed, she would not care whether she were a brother or sister.

• Habits of thought persist through the centuries; and while a healthy brain may reject the doctrine it no longer believes, it will continue to feel the same sentiments formerly associated with that doctrine.

• The softest, freest, most pliable and changeful living substance is the brain -- the hardest and most iron-bound as well.

• Death? Why this fuss about death. Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death! . . . Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil.

• When one is assured of unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis.

Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.