Friday, October 25, 2019

Little Woman, Small World Essay -- Literary Analysis

In a small world, there is not much choice for a simple woman. Throughout history, women often are portrayed as the weaker sex. As a result of this assumption, women try to disassociate themselves from this custom and be more independent with their lives. One of John Steinbeck’s most accomplished short stories, â€Å"The Chrysanthemums,† a story which concerns a married couple and examines Elisa’s dissatisfaction with her life. The story takes place in the Salinas Valley of California in December at Henry Allen’s ranch in the foothills. Elisa is a woman whose life is narrow, unexciting and limited in what she can become by geography and opportunity. She is feeling trapped in a life of servitude and is suppressing a yearning for more. Therefore, Elisa takes a bold step towards her own providence. In â€Å"The Chrysanthemums,† by Steinbeck, Elisa is portrayed as feminine, subservient, and conservative, but through the reality is that she is instead a masculine, frustrated, and sensual being who wants more out of life than her husband Henry offers her. Her portrayal shows her dissatisfaction in life. First characteristic of Elisa is found in a traditional feminine role, working in her garden; however, the narrator describes her appearance using words associated with manliness. For example, her gardening clothes conceal her femininity with a â€Å"man’s black hat†¦clodhopper shoes†¦a big corduroy apron†¦and heavy leather gloves† (460). Her description does not focus on her feminine characteristics, and she could easily be mistaken as a man from the distance. Elisa is gardening and tending her flowers which symbolize of her femininity, but contradicting this femininity is her strength. Steinbeck illustrates Elisa’s energy as she works in the garden t... ... Works Cited Akers, Tim, ed. Vol. 6. Short Stories for Students. Detroit: The Gale Group, 1999. 59-82. Print. Mazzeno, Laurence W., ed. Vol. 2. Masterplots The Big Sky- The Confidential Clerk. 4th ed. Pasadena California: Salem Press, 2011. 1011-12. Print. Palmerino, Gregory J. "Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums'." Explicator 62.3 (2004): 164-167. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Claire Carney Library. Schultz, Jeffrey D, and Luchen Li. Critical Companion to John Steinbeck: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 2005. Print. Steinbeck, John. "The Chrysanthemums." Literature Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Second ed. Boston: New York University, 2008. 459-66. Print. Timmerman, John H. The Dramatic Landscape of Steinbeck's Short Stories. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. 173-79. Print.

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