This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

"The Chrysanthemums" By John Steinbeck Essay

2879 words - 12 pages

As you know, women have often been portrayed as the weaker sex when compared to men but do not ask me why. It's been like that throughout the history of mankind. As a result of these assumptions, many women have been bravely trying hard to dissociate themselves from this frame of mind and become more independent with their lives. When John Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums" first appeared in the October 1937 edition of Harper's Magazine, Franklin D. Roosevelt had just been re-elected president of the United State of America. The country was recovering from the Great Depression, unions were developing, and child labour in manufacturing was terminated (Jones 805-6). The first female ...view middle of the document...

What makes this description noteworthy is its focus on the characteristics that have enabled Elisa to survive. She wears a "man's black hat," and her dress is "almost completely covered." The covered dress symbolizes the fact that Elisa's strength, almost masculine at the opening of the story, will transform. The strength combined with her love of her creation, her flowers, the "masculine" and the "feminine", could be the very thing to push her to try for "more" than a woman can dare to hope for. Her home has the masculine qualities of being "hard-swept" and "hard-polished". Elisa is bored with her husband and with her life. According to Sweet, Elisa is unhappy with the traditional female role and is attempting to extend her abilities into masculine areas (211). This shows that even though she is a woman, she still wear man's clothes. Despite her hiding behind these symbolic clothes she was still doing the seemingly "female" job of tending a flower garden.Her chrysanthemums meant a lot to her. She is very proud of them. When Elisa's husband Henry comes over and compliments her garden and ability to grow things Elisa is smug with him and very proud of her skill with the flowers. Her "green thumb" makes her an equal in her own eyes. It is safe to say that they were almost like her children and she took care of them like a mother. We see this when she talks about them so passionately with the tinker. Nevertheless, she is depicted as a woman whose strengths are really too much for the tasks at hand. "She was cutting down the old year's chysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors.". This not only shows that she is physically strong but symbolize to the readers that she wants more from life than just being a gardener. She has too much energy for the job. "Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful. The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy." Thus, we get a sense, early on, of Elisa's promise, of her potential but is limited by her circumstances and by her stereotypical role as a woman, and as a farmer's wife.Other phrases used by Steinbeck further the above points. He mentions that her face was "handsome," her work with the scissors was "over-powerful," and her fingers "destroyed such pests." She hints to the reader that she would like to take on more masculine responsibilities after her husband Henry says that he wishes she'd work out in the orchard and "raise some apples that big." She reacts to this by saying "Maybe I could do it too. I've got a gift with things." All of these descriptions show the reader that Elisa Allen strives to be more than just a woman in her own world. At the same time, she leads her husband to believe that she is content with being a mere housewife.Steinbeck uses chrysanthemums as symbols of the inner-self of Elisa and of every woman. First, the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa's children. She tends her garden and handles...

Find Another Essay On "The Chrysanthemums" By John Steinbeck

The incompatibilities between the couple in "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

1606 words - 6 pages In Vietnamese literature, it is not difficult to look for a work which is about women’s fate and their tragedy in life. We would be surely surprised when realizing that, in the western society along with the developmental industry, women fall into the same situation. “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck is one of the stories that contribute to sketch out that grievous picture.“The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off

The Birth and Death of a Modern Woman: On the Book "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

1470 words - 6 pages The Birth and Death of a Modern WomanAlthough the suffrage movement gave women equality and the women's the right to vote; it took some years for a lot of women to evolve into the woman of today. Not only did it take women a long time, but it took men longer to give up the control they had over them in the past and accept them as equal. In "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, we see the birth of Elisa Allen as a modern woman. However, her

Analysis of Elisa's character in the short story "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

705 words - 3 pages Quite often, the limits that bound a woman to her conventional standards are the cause of women's sufferings. The battle for equality has not come to pass because men hinder their ways. For a long time this has been accepted in society as the ways things are. John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" mirrors Elisa's frustration she feels in a masculine world, and her aspiration to enjoy the life that a true woman deserves.Elisa has to suppress her

Essay on the Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck's

811 words - 3 pages life. Her frustration stems from not having a child and from her husband's failure to admire her romantically as a woman. The only outlet for her frustration is her flower garden where she cultivates beautiful chrysanthemums. Another thing that helps her for a moment is the Tinker, a man who comes and value her feminine appearance by her beautiful flowers and he also tray her at the end. Steinbeck purposeSteinbeck's uses the flower to symbolize

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

814 words - 3 pages realisticdepictions of life, portrays this motif through Kino, the doctor, Coyotito, and the town of LaPaz. John Earnst Steinbeck, author of The Pearl and many other stories, was born onFebruary 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Both his father, who ran a flour mill, and hismother, a teacher, encouraged him to write once they saw his early interest in literature. Steinbeck began his career by writing articles for his school newspaper and by taking classesat

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

1705 words - 7 pages Many people in the world today grow crazy and mad when surrounded by even the slightest bit of wealth and good fortune. Even a strong person who recognizes their priorities can still become corrupt with too much power. There is no better example of a person falling into the path of evil and corruption than in a novel written by John Steinbeck. In the novel The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, the author writes about a poor Indian man named Kino who

The Pearl, by John Steinbeck

1180 words - 5 pages John Steinbeck's The Pearl tells the story of a pearl diver named Kino. Kino lives a simple life, and adores his family. At the beginning of the story Steinbeck shows how content Kino’s family is. Everything seems to be going perfect for Kino and his family that is until the discovery of the most wonderful pearl in the world changes his life forever. As the story advances Kino’s newborn, Coyotito gets bitten by a scorpion. Kino’s wife, Juana

"The Pearl" By John Steinbeck

1055 words - 4 pages In The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, evil transforms certain citizens into greedy and envious vultures. John Steinbeck, a noble prize winning author, wrote a parable about how the pearl of the world changed a peaceful and happy family into a tragedy. The Pearl takes place off the Gulf of California in La Paz, Mexico where the main character, Kino a young Mexican-Indian pearl diver undergoes various changes. Steinbeck has a love for marine biology

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

524 words - 2 pages The purpose of this essay is to compare the idea good vs. evil in the novel is to compare the idea good vs. evil in the novel the pearl, written by John Steinbeck. Coyotio, who is always beside Juanna yet at the side of sickness, represents the good symbolistic element in the novel. The evil symbolistic element is represented by the pearl, which is always causing conflicts and brings bad luck to the beholder although considered to be worth a

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

994 words - 4 pages In "The Pearl", by John Steinbeck, there are many themes. Two of these are family and evil. They contribute a lot to the book and readers can learn valuable lessons from them.Family plays an important part in the book. In chapter 1, page 1; you have the opening scene of a Kino hearing the song of the family while the family are doing their normal morning routine. The song and the family it represents are protected by Kino because it is all he

The Pearl By: John Steinbeck

577 words - 2 pages depend on money, and want it more than any other thing inthe world, but I did not know that back then, in such poverty, money could dothe same. John Steinbeck used very good descriptive words while writing thestory. While reading, it made me feel like I was actually part of the book.It seemed that everything Keno and his whole family were going through, wereactually happening to me. I didn't enjoy the ending of the story becauseCoyotito dies. Other than the ending, I enjoyed the novel The Pearl.

Similar Essays

Symbolism In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1866 words - 7 pages Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck "The Chrysanthemums", one of John Steinbeck's masterpieces, describes a lonely farmer's wife, Elisa Allen. Elisa Allen's physical appearance is very mannish yet still allows a hint of a feminine side to peek through. John Steinbeck brings symbolism into play to represent Elisa Allen's frustrations and hidden passions. Isolation is another representation through symbolism found in "The

Symbolism In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1238 words - 5 pages Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck "A symbol is an act, person, thing, or spectacle that stands for something else, by association a usually broader idea in addition to its own literal meaning" (Cassill & Bausch, 1728). John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" may seem as a story describing a simple day with the Allen couple. It begins with Elisa Allen working in her garden and her husband, Henry Allen, negotiating with two

Elisa’s Unhappiness In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1432 words - 6 pages reinforced and Elisa will never have the life she wants. Works Cited Palmerino, Gregory J. "Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums'." Explicator 62.3 (2004): 164-167. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Claire Carney Library. Steinbeck, John. "The Chrysanthemums." The Seagull Reader Stories. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2008. 437-448.

Internal Conflict In "Barn Burning" By William Faulkner And "The Chrysanthemums" By John Steinbeck

2126 words - 9 pages The works "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner and "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck at first glance may seem to have no connection, but in spite of different plot they focus on similar ideas.The story "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner discusses the inner conflict within Sartoris Snopes, a young boy who faced a dilemma. He tries to make a decision of choosing between to lieing in the court under his father's pressiure who does not want to