Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion


If you read this sketch alongside Gilman's declarations in The Home, Its Work and Influence,* connections between racial and class superiority and domestic hygiene become apparent. In her 1903, Gilman finds it detestable that “Strangers by birth, by class, by race, by education—as utterly alien as it is possible to conceive— these we introduce into our homes—in our very bed chambers. . . . With servants living in our homes by day and night, confronted with our strange customs and new ideas, having our family affairs always before them, and having nothing else in their occupation to offset this interest, we find in this arrangement of life a condition as far removed from privacy as could be imagined" (42).

This eugenicist strain echoes the racial hygiene movement** of the early-twentieth-century. A 1918 teacher's handbook*** provides an exemplary account of how bedroom hygiene became an important instrument in the "Americanization" process. 

***Google Book Link:

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