The short story, “Turned” was written in America in 1911. It is about a contemporary family, living a rich lifestyle; I quote “In her soft-carpeted, richly furnished chamber.
” The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in the USA in 1860. Her father deserted the family shortly after her birth, this left her Mother poor and Charlotte feeling isolated. Throughout her childhood Charlotte Perkins Gilman strived to gain independence and freedom. She started working very early; she needed to feel like a self-sufficient human being. In 1884, she sacrificed her freedom and married.She gave birth and shortly after fell into a depression.
Her physician instructed her to relax; she was forbidden to write or paint (her two passions). To save herself from a life that was destroying her, she summoned her last reserves of will, took her daughter and left her husband. Once fled, she toured, giving lectures and established a boarding house in California. On her income she supported her mother and her daughter. She was a socialist and also a strongly opinionated feminist. Because of her consent travelling, Charlotte’s daughter decided to live with her runaway father.
Feminism was not accepted in America at the time, many sexual inequalities were evident. She faced a public outcry and lost all of her social standing. She was classed as nothing, considered an “untouchable” because she refused to conform to the “norms” of excepted female behaviour.
She then wrote “Women and Economics” which denounced Women’s financial dependency on men. She expressed a wish to build day-care centres to liberate women from childcare and free them for work. In 1900 she remarried, her husband died thirty-four years later.A year later, in 1935, she took her own life. She considered this her final stand. She felt that she should die before she became a liability to anybody. Throughout her life she believed in: emancipation, socialism and equality. All of these were very topical in the USA at the time.
The second short story, The Good Corn is set in the 1940s. The story takes place on the Mortimer’s family farm in rural England- “For twenty-five years Joe Mortimer and his wife lived in a valley, getting a living from raising hens and geese. The author, H.E Bates (Herbert Ernest Bates) was born on the 16th May, 1905 in Rushden, Northamptonshire.
Bates was a novelist of reputation and wide popularity. Although Bates had become a well-known writer when producing novels about the countryside and agriculture, he gained real fame in World War 2, when he was commissioned as a writer for the RAF. Between the start of war, in 1941 and the end in 1948 he published war related novels such as: The Greatest People in the World (1942), Fair Stood the Wind for France (1944) and The Jacaranda Tree (1948), earned Bates a new reputation as a novelist of power.Throughout his life he had been developing subtlety, depth, and strength as a novelist. It was not until later life when Bates realised his true potential.
The now televised “The Darling Buds Of May” helped H. E. Bates to achieve a new height of power, with the realism and admirable “Larkins” family. He rounded off his lustrous career with the publishing of autobiographical works, The Vanished World (1969) and The Blossoming World (1971), in which he retained his power to capture the mood of the passing moment.