What struck me first about Middlemarch was how different of a story it was from Herland. Although a work of fiction, Herland read more like a cultural study, a lesson or exchange of ideas about two cultures. Middlemarch, although it has discussion of Puritan philosophy, lends itself more towards (what I would call) modern fiction. In Herland, the “action” of the story was interrupted by the discussions of culture – journals entry style writing. Middlemarch has a more progressive plot line focusing more on the relationships of the people and how they affect the main character – storytelling style writing. The difference in gender of the main characters/narrators could attribute to the difference in style, although there is no clear gender of the narrator of Middlemarch.
A similarity between the two lives in the strong-willed nature of the female characters. The women in Herland and Dorothea share characteristics of strong, independent women who have the ability to think on a higher level than expected. This demonstrates to me the common attitude towards women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the fact that George Eliot wrote around the middle of the of the nineteenth century and that Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote in the early twentieth century, I deduce that not much change over that period of time concerning the idea of the education of women.