Close Reading in Herland

ENG498 2012


“Sure enough—there was our motor, lying like a gray cocoon on the flat pale sheet of water.

Quietly but swiftly we rushed forward and began to tug at the fastenings of that cover.

“Confound the thing!” Terry cried in desperate impatience. “They’ve got it sewed up in a bag! And we’ve not a knife among us!” (40)

“As we reached our swaddle machine . . .” (42)



swaddled    Engine                         Airplane                                  sewn cloth bag
                        symbol of wealth                                                        formed by feminine arts

                                                            Symbol of conquest     gently subdued without violence

Motif of mothers

& infants                                                                                             slows engine of progress

Is like the trio of men

                                                Like Terry, left as a shell


                                                                                                Cocoon resting on water

technology beyond the

women's grasp