Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" as a Feminist Text

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Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" is a feminist text. Throughout the whole book there is a slight undertone about how Elisa is tired of her life and wants to leave her husband and the boring tedious life she leads there with him. While she is a somewhat strong woman, what with helping around on the farm, it still seems like she is eager to get away from it all and have an adventure. The story begins with discussing how good of a gardener Elisa is, and how proud she is of her garden. Gardening is usually though of by people as something that more girls tend to do, especially with flowers. When men garden it is usually referred to as planting, and in the story it appears that her husbands planting is crops, and Elisa just deals with flowers. Generally when Elisa is introduced to the prospects of doing the typical female thing, such as dinner with her husband, you can see her change and she becomes weak. No longer is she seen as strong like she is when she is gardening.

There are many points in the story where the reader can get the idea that actually Elisa wants to be able to act like a man, but then she would just kind of fall back into being feminine. In fact, Elisa is a lot like the story's title, Chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums are wispy, feminine flowers, but still the stalks of the flowers are strong until they are picked. When picked the flower becomes very delicate.

Elisa spends the beginning of the story wishing that she could be able throw off societies pigeon hole that they have boxed her into. She seems frustrated that the society around her forces her to be this delicate flower, and she will become a kind of outcast if she dares to act different and actually does the things that men are supposed to do. Elisa's husband also does not help her in the story. He does love her, but is constantly reminding her that she is the woman in this relationship. A title that Elisa would love to get rid of. Elisa's husband also mentions that her strength is...
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