Historical Setting In The Chrysanthemums

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Historical setting shapes the setting of stories as shown in A&P and The Chrysanthemums. (#4) Historical setting is a vital factor in the development of circumstances in a story. This idea is demonstrated by John Updike’s short story A&P and John Steinbeck’s short story entitled The Chrysanthemums. The situation these characters are in are influenced by the events or way of life that these stories take place. The social situation in A&P exists because of the time it occurs – the 1960’s. In this era, many youth were rebelling against authority. They were advocates of doing what they desired, wearing what they wanted, and voicing their beliefs. In this story, Sammy is a cashier in a grocery store situated “right in the middle of town”.…show more content…
This was a harsh time all over the world. Many people, such as the man in this story, did not know if they were “going to have dinner tonight”. Elisa was fortunate enough to be married to Henry – a prosperous farmer. She depends on her husband for financial security but she wishes this were not the case. Women in this time were expected to do work such as gardening, which Elisa does. However, she longs to be an independent, “strong” woman. When the man tells Elisa that his work “ain’t the right kind of work for a woman” she tells him “she wishes a woman could do such things”. Unfortunately with minimal opportunity due to the depression and the narrow range of jobs for women she feels that her life is like a “closed pot”. Elisa believes that she’s “got a gift with things” but is not presented with a chance due to the historical setting so she must settle with her unsatisfactory life. Situations in a story are evidently shaped by the historical setting in which they are written or take place. Sammy wants to join the rest of the youth in their anarchy rebellion and Elisa’s opportunities are limited because of the depression occurring and the way women were expected to live. As demonstrated, the short stories A&P and The Chrysanthemums strongly support this idea. Both of the characters in these stories are placed in situations that produced by the events that occur in the eras of the
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