The Chrysanthemums

Topics: Gender, John Steinbeck, Man Pages: 1 (398 words) Published: October 17, 2012
“The Chrysanthemums” written by John Steinbeck depicts the trials of one woman, Elisa Allen, attempting to gain power in a man’s world. Elisa tries to define the boundaries of her role in an extremely closed society. As the story progresses, Elisa has trouble extending her power outside the fence surrounding her garden. While she is inside the “wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens” (Steinbeck, 1938) Which paragraph was the statement in? she is able to do as she would like to do. It is here also that she is able to gain power over everything. Her environment is portrayed as a tool for social repression, it is through nature in her garden where Elisa can gain and show this power. The fencing could also be interpreted as the imprisonment of Elisa. This type of imprisonment is meant to secure her talents and make sure that her womanly use of gardening skills stick strictly to the walls of her enclosure. The thesis will need to be reviewed. In the end Elisa learns she has only the weak feminine power, not the masculine power she tries so hard to achieve. Her only true desire is to overcome society’s norms and prove that women can be just as good as the men. Elisa’s physical appearance is very mannish but allows a small portion of feminine to peek through. I took her manly clothing, tools, etc.take etc. out. as her attempt at trying to overcome, or hiding, her sexual desires. The book defines her clothing as “a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets” (Steinbeck, 1938). Which paragraph was the statement in? A few signs that Elisa is living in a man’s world is the facts that the men were allowed to smoke cigarettes, work outside the home, and engage in business conversations. While the women had to stay home, cook, clean and tend to the children. Elisa attempted to overcome this obstacle...
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