The Chrysanthemums Essay

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The Chrysanthemums Elisa’s life in the story The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck appears to be normal, but deep down inside Elisa feels trapped by her life’s circumstances. Elisa is portrayed as a strong woman however, her place in society as a married woman keeps her from pursuing her true passion, which is traveling. The setting for the short story is early 20th century America, a time period where a women’s gender determined her role in society. Women were expected to live as housewives with their husbands, the thought of a women living the life as a traveler at that time was inconceivable and challenged gender norms. Elisa was not only trapped by the time period and society’s expectation of her gender role, but also by her marriage. In the short story The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck’s, the main character Elisa ‘s circumstances, point of view and actions were shape by her gender and class. In The Chrysanthemums Steinbeck addresses the issue of gender inequality a number of times, first when Elisa’s Husband Henry knowing about her love and passion for her chrysanthemums stated “ I wish you ‘d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big “ Literature a Portable Anthology (205). Assuming that her time would be better spent growing large apples at the orchard instead of wasting so much time caring for her chrysanthemums. Secondly, while Elisa was having a conversation with the thinker Elisa asked the thinker “ You sleep in right in the wagon?” The thinker replied, “ right in the wagon ma’am. Rain or shine I’m dry as a cow in there”. But when Elisa replied, “It must be nice… it must be very nice. I wish women could do such things.” The Thinker stated, “It ain;t the kind of life for a woman.” (210). When Elisa asked the thinker for an explanation of why a woman could not live a life as an adventurer, the thinker did not have an answer. The life
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