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Thoughts on What Diantha Did by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

December 12, 2010
American feminist poet and writer Charlotte Pe...

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What Diantha Did is a very progressive novel for having been published in 1909.

The main concepts in this book are women moving away from the home to work, a woman starting her own business, and housework moving away from being simply a wife’s job.  Diantha is a 21 year old woman who moves away from her betrothed with the idea of creating a domestic services business to create a solution to the “servant problem.”  All of the women written in this story are enterprising and capable, but are often held back by their situations in the home.  With Diantha’s ideals to rescue them, they all grow into their own and are able to live independently without the burden of having to live under the traditional style of being housewives or mistresses of the house.  Diantha herself undergoes trouble with the men and the old fashioned women in her life being unable to accept her enterprising ideals.

This book provides a unique look at a very forward thinking author, who in the early 1900s is thinking about women working away from the home and taking on a professional career.   Something mostly unthinkable in those days, but is so common to us 100 years later.  Her simple ideas expressed through her protagonist are presented like a form of utopia.

I would highly recommend reading this story, it is well written, at times funny and at times sad.  It is well thought out and reads rather easily.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a revolutionary and a visionary for a female in her time.

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