The Chrysanthemums

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John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" features a strong capable and unsatisfied woman, Elisa Allen, whose talent cannot be recognized in the male-dominated society.
Elisa Allen is a strong, talented woman, with powerful hands just like a man's, and she is "over-eager" to puts her potential into practice. Even though she is "over-eager and over-powerful", she could use her potential only in her flower garden. Actually, she does an excellent job there, keeping the farmhouse "neat" with windows "hard-polished", where even the mud-mad is "clean". Furthermore, there is a "wire fence" blocking her from males’ world. While she is doing her job, she often looks at the other side of the "wire fence", where her husband is doing his business. When she meets the tinker, she resists him at first. After the tinker shows some interest in her chrysanthemum, she becomes “alert and eager”, since she considers that she has found someone who can understand her. Before the tinker goes away, she tells him that she is also good at mending, but the man responds her that it will not be an appropriate job for a lady. However, she does not want to accept the ture that she will not have any hope to do things that she is truly interested in. Therefore, when “the little covered wagon’’ passes her, she prevents herself from seeing it; when she asks her husband if “any women ever go to the fights, ” even though she gets positive answer, she chooses not to go and only wants to have “wine”.

In the story, the protagonist’s personality is just like the chrysanthemum. She also cannot find a suitable place to perform her talent. The author delivers the message that women's talent is repressed in the male-dominated society.
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