During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were many struggles throughout society that depict discrimination. Judgment against gender, race and class all through working and social society were common. Many authors have captured the vast colors of discrimination and feminism throughout this era, especially John Steinbeck. Steinbeck is but one author who represents the feminist perspective in his short story The Chrysanthemums.
Upon the first entrance of Elisa in “The Chrysanthemums”, written by John Steinbeck in 1938, she is found in her garden. Her garden is explained to be fenced in, “wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens.” (Steinbeck, para 2, 1938). This fence is clarified to be there for her protection from wandering animals, this could also be interpreted as the imprisonment, if you will, of Elisa. Not to be confused with a prison for Elisa herself, as to keep her from roaming. 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. This is flawlessly established by Henry, her husband, in their conversation of the orchards. “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big.” Her eyes sharpened. “Maybe I could do it, too. I’ve a gift with things, all right” (Steinbeck, para 3, 1938). By stating that Elisa should and would be great working the orchard with “planting hands” (Steinbeck, 1938), but can’t do to her status as a woman, therefore capturing her talents in this fence.
The role of the men in this story is portrayed as rough and tumble; classic rugged cowboys set out on a cattle drive. The fact that these men Henry and Scott, are to run a cattle drive to embark on such a dangerous adventure, shows their daring, manly braveness. It is apparent that Elisa, stereotypically represents a house wife who stays home and tends to her chores, while her husband runs their ranch and cattle drives....
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