The Gaining Of Power Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

Traditional beliefs of women being weaker than men has made women live under the control of men for centuries. In the past, women's activities are quite restricted. Some of them were not allowed to go to school or even wandered on the street. But now the situation has been improved, women are actively gaining respect from various aspects, which is due to the allowance of education for women. According to New Internationalist , cabinet positions that are held by women currently increased from 3% in 1987 to 6%. And of the 24 female heads of state in this century, half have been elected since 1990. In addition, more women are working, not only in jobs that are specifically designated as 'women's work', but also as bus drivers, miners, engineers and even priests. "The Chrysanthemums" was written by John Steinbeck at a time during which the first female cabinet member in history was appointed the Secretary of Labor , she was one of the few women in her time that succeeded in gaining respect and equality in a male-dominated society. For most female, like the main character, Elisa Allen, liberation was usually a bitter struggle. In the story, Elisa tried to fight for sexual equality by acting like a man, however, she very often unwittingly exposed her femininity. Elisa was a gifted planter, some of her chrysanthemums were even ten inches across. She had a tough outlook, "Her face was lean and strong, and her eyes were as clear as water"(p.953). She worked hard to prove her capability of doing masculine work, but her watery eyes reflected her affectionate side. "She looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron."(p.953) Elisa tried to disguise her soft character by dressing like a hard working man, nevertheless, the figured print dress exposed her girlish mind. The story reached the climax when the mender appeared. The mender stopped by Elisa's garden and offered to mend pods and sharpen scissors for her. Like what most men would do, Elisa rejected his service and even responded with an irritating tone. However, the mender spotted her interest and tried to arouse her attention by asking for some chrysanthemum seeds. Elisa became excited and her femininity overrode her virility. She enthusiastically taught the mender some techniques about planting and even gave him two useless pots to mend. When Elisa eventually saw the sprouts laying dead on the road, her heart was broken. By offering to go to the fights and drink wine, she hoped to get away from her soft mind, but still she couldn't resist behaving naturally like a woman and cried weakly at last, realizing her desire for equality was a failure.Women in the past didn't play an important role in the society, they were confined in a small world. Steinbeck portrayed the confinement through the description of Salinas Valley, the place where Elisa and his...

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