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The Chrysanthemums Essay

694 words - 3 pages

Most women have a sense of freedom and independence from their male counterparts, but they will not reach out away from their sheltered lives with a male to a new challenge or a new life. Women whom breakout of the their molds made by their significant other take a chance with life and try to become the independent woman others dream about at night. On the Allen’s farm, chrysanthemums flourish, but does Elisa Allen flourish with them? With tender care, the flowers grow heartily and healthily, though the one who tends them is not so satisfied with her rooting in life. In “Chrysanthemums,” John Steinbeck portrays Elisa Allen as a stereotypical female, yearning to bloom like the flowers she harvests.
     An extremely capable women, Elisa Allen, armed with her scissors, clodhopper shoes, corduroy apron, and a man’s hat, seems to be anything but a demure, timid women. However, her husband, Henry, views her in a stereotypical way, seeing her as a helpless woman who is disinterested in practical concepts. Though he acknowledges she has “got a gift with things,” he limits her gifts to things that deal with a typical woman’s job: gardening. In addition, Henry jokes, “I wish you’d work in the orchard and raise some apples that big,” though he does not really except, or desire, her to leave the hobby of her flowers to perform “real” labor around the farm. Furthermore, after Henry decides to treat her to dinner, he playfully jokes with her about going to a boxing match, assuming that, being female, she has no interest in such things. Unbeknownst to him, Elisa really does have an interest in the sport, primarily because boxing is outside the realm of her conservative, feminine world of gardening and housework. Indeed, Henry is caught off guard when he learns Elisa has an interest in the bloody, masculine sport and even more shocked to find she has been reading further about it.
     Similarly, a tinker who stops in at the farm also stereotypes Elisa. He tries to play upon her lady-like naivete and to pressure her in to employing...

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