Ok, a quick synopsis of Herland.

The rest of Herland went something like this:

First, the men (especially the narrator) begin to learn more and more about these women and their culture. Because men died and they had no real predators, their educational system, the way they interact with the world — everything really, completely changed. These women were curious creatures and based the education of their children on this. They surrounded children with the opportunity to let their natural curiosity guide their learning. Also, all the women were mothers in some way, but only the best were allowed to educated and raise the children. While all of them played a very important part of each child’s life, they specialized in different tasks. They did not focus on their past, rather they tried to make continual progress. Their future was not a hope for eternal life or anything like that, they lived on through their children.

Soon we learn that the men are being studied and the women are carefully deciding who will become their mate to return their culture to a two-gender race. Of the three men, the narrator is the most grounded and most like them. He begins to respect these women as peers and they see him the same way. There is a man on the other end of the spectrum who is a typical chauvinistic male. He feels these women are not feminine, even though all they really do is make and raise children. (There’s nothing more feminine than being a mother.) Opposite him is a man who treats women almost as if they were goddesses.

The chauvinist gets kicked out of the country when he attempts to overpower his new mate so he can fulfill his sexual needs. (These women are both smart, strong and teamworkers — he is quickly put back in his place.) Abusing sex/reproduction/motherhood is the worse crime these women know; there is no way he will be forgiven for his crimes. The story ends with this — the narrator (who doesn’t know whether he really wants to return to his homeland) has to return Terry to the US.

It is, of course, more complicated than that. There are so many details explained in this book. It was fascinating and interesting. I’m pretty happy with this pick.

I’m also very happy to have moved on to the next story… a silly tale about Pirates and their adventure with Darwin after they storm and destroy The Beagle. (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe.)


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