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AN OBSTACLE

- By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman (/ˈɡɪlmən/; née Perkins; July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935), also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was a prominent American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform.[1] She was a utopian feminist and served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[2] Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story "The Yellow Wallpaper", which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis. Gilman was born on July 3, 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut, to Mary Perkins (formerly Mary Fitch Westcott) and Frederic Beecher Perkins. She had only one brother, Thomas Adie, who was fourteen months older, because a physician advised Mary Perkins that she might die if she bore other children. During Charlotte's infancy, her father moved out and abandoned his wife and children, and the remainder of her childhood was spent in poverty.[1]

AN OBSTACLE

"Thursday Walking" by Der Wunderbare Mandarin is licensed under CC by-NC-ND 2.0.

I was climbing up a mountain-path
With many things to do,
Important business of my own,
And other people's too,
When I ran against a Prejudice
That quite cut off the view.

My work was such as could not wait,
My path quite clearly showed,
My strength and time were limited,
I carried quite a load;
And there that hulking Prejudice
Sat all across the road.

So I spoke to him politely,
For he was huge and high,
And begged that he would move a bit
And let me travel by.
He smiled, but as for moving! -
He didn't even try.

And then I reasoned quietly
With that colossal mule:
My time was short - no other path -
The mountain winds were cool.
I argued like a Solomon;
He sat there like a fool.

Then I flew into a passion,
and I danced and howled and swore.
I pelted and belabored him
Till I was stiff and sore;
He got as mad as I did -
But he sat there as before.

And then I begged him on my knees;
I might be kneeling still
If so I hoped to move that mass
Of obdurate ill-will -
As well invite the monument
To vacate Bunker Hill!

So I sat before him helpless,
In an ecstasy of woe -
The mountain mists were rising fast,
The sun was sinking slow -
When a sudden inspiration came,
As sudden winds do blow.

I took my hat, I took my stick,
My load I settled fair,
I approached that awful incubus
With an absent-minded air -
And I walked directly through him,
As if he wasn't there!

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Rating: C

Words: 271

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