An analysis of the struggle for gender equality in john steinbecks short story the chrysanthemums

Elisa realizes her hopes for equality are nothing but a dream because she has been betrayed by her basic nature and by men. The country was recovering from the Great Depression, unions were developing, and child labor in manufacturing was terminated Jones Elisa prefers "strong," but the meaning of it has changed from "masculine equal" to "feminine overlord" Sweet Her dreams of feminine equality are so broken that she can never go back to being what she once was; thus "she must endure her typical social role" Sweet Henry immediately notices the transformation and compliments her with the feminine "nice" instead of "strong," which is masculine.

She has allowed herself to become emotional, "the trait women possess," whereas men conduct business unemotionally Sweet After the tinker leaves, Elisa goes indoors to bathe.

Elisa works in her garden, cutting down old chrysanthemum stalks, while her husband Henry discusses business with two men across the yard.

The Chrysanthemums, John Steinbeck - Essay

Works Cited Jones, James H. Some critics have viewed Elisa as a feminist figure, while others—arguing that Elisa both emasculates her husband and engages in an infidelity with the tinker—have argued that the story is an attack against feminism.

The tinker tells Elisa about a woman on his route who would like chrysanthemum seeds, and Elisa happily places several sprouts in a red pot for him. After this conversation with her husband, she goes back to her masculine role of transplanting the flowers.

Henry is not as intelligent as Elisa, but it is he who runs the ranch, supports himself and his wife, and makes business deals. Throughout the story, Elisa suffers a regression from the masculine role she sees as equality to the feminine role she sees as submissive.

Roosevelt had just been reelected president. By the time she realizes her feminine emotions, it is too late: Because she has gone back to her feminine role, according to Renner, "she remains a pitiable victim of male domination and female disadvantage" Once Henry departs, a battered covered wagon driven by a tinker pulls up to the house.

Her frustration with the male-dominated society causes her to let go of her dreams for liberation and to become what society expects her to be--a passive woman.

Elisa and Henry have a functional but passionless marriage and seem to treat each other more as siblings or friends than spouses. When she speaks to him about looking at the stars at night, for example, her language is forward, nearly pornographic.

Volume Two From She then finds two saucepans for the tinker to repair before he leaves. According to Sweet, Elisa is unhappy with the traditional female role and is attempting to extend her abilities into masculine areas Her home has the masculine qualities of being "hard-swept" and "hard-polished" Steinbeck Although the two key men in the story are less interesting and talented than she, their lives are far more fulfilling and busy.

The Importance of Sexual Fulfillment Steinbeck argues that the need for sexual fulfillment is incredibly powerful and that the pursuit of it can cause people to act in irrational ways. Other critics have detected the influence of D. Steinbeck uses Henry and the tinker as stand-ins for the paternalism of patriarchal societies in general: A few minutes pass before she wonders aloud whether the boxers at the prize fights hurt each other very much and whether women ever attend.

She is attracted to the tinker because, as Stanley Renner points out, he represents a world of adventure and freedom that only men enjoy Elisa rushes into the house, where she bathes, studies her naked body in the mirror, and dresses for the evening. When she dresses, she puts on her best underwear and applies makeup to her face.A Feminist Perspective of John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums John Steinbeck, in his short story "The Chrysanthemums" depicts the trials of a woman attempting to gain power in a man's world.

Elisa Allen tries to define the boundaries of her role as a woman in such a closed society. “The Chrysanthemums” John Steinbeck The following entry presents criticism of Steinbeck's short story “The Chrysanthemums,” first published in Gender Criticism Essay of John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” When John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” was first published in the ’s, it was a time of great societal change.

Women, who had always been seen as fragile and weak, were struggling for equality in a male dominated society. In "The Chrysanthemums," this struggle for equality is portrayed through Steinbeck's character Elisa Allen.

According to Stanley Renner, "The Chrysanthemums" shows "a strong, capable woman kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfillment by the prevailing conception of a woman's role in a world dominated by men" ().

In "The Chrysanthemums," this struggle for equality is portrayed through Steinbeck's character Elisa Allen.

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According to Stanley Renner, "The Chrysanthemums" shows "a strong, capable woman kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfilment by the prevailing conception of a woman's role in a world dominated by men" ()/5(12).

John Steinbeck’s short story, “The Chrysanthemums,” portrays a woman’s struggle with accepting her life and role as a female (). Through the protagonist-female character, Elisa Allen, and the symbolism of chrysanthemums, Steinbeck displays the gender roles that define past generations of women’s lives in the United States.

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An analysis of the struggle for gender equality in john steinbecks short story the chrysanthemums
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