The Chrysanthemums

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Randy Miller
Professor Robert Stambaugh
English 1102
21 February 2012
Boundaries of a Powerful and Beautiful Woman
A short story written in 1938 by John Steinbeck named “The Chrysanthemums” has been known over the years in the entire world for being one of the most outstanding and significant stories in literature. Steinbeck created a magnificent story that captures the attention of readers immediately because of the meaning and features of it. The author created a special way to take the reader to an unreal, but easy to imagine world in which a woman, named Elisa Allen, is living uncomfortable and surrounded by several types of boundaries that do not let her be the real person and woman she is. Living in the close and small Salinas Valley, Elisa’s world is enclosed to the ranch in where she lives and by the garden fence that limits the house ground, and in which Elisa plants her precious chrysanthemums. Contrasting Elisa’s dark and limited world her husband Henry Allen and the thinker’s life are boundless and they are capable to do all they want to. Steinbeck clearly created a woman that has a difficult life in a time where male power society was predominant. All the boundaries that Elisa suffers in the story limit this woman from self-expressing and integrating to the society.

At the beginning of the story Steinbeck described Elisa as a beautiful and powerful woman, but that is dressed like a man and work hard in the garden which is surrounded by a fence that limits the house so the mountains around the valley. Although she is a beautiful middle age woman, she is not capable of showing her beauty and feminine side letting her physical side to look gross and neglected. The first dialogue that she has with henry denotes that she is a woman who does not like fights, so she is clearly not aggressive or moody. Although Elisa does not like fights, there is a type of conflict that she has constantly with Henry, but seems to have no solution. In his critical...
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