Preview
Preview

Essay on A Woman Bound by Society in Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 1018 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A Woman Bound by Society in John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums"       


When John Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums" first appeared in the October 1937 edition of Harper's Magazine (Osborne 479), Franklin D. Roosevelt had just been reelected president. The country was recovering from the Great Depression, unions were developing, and child labor in manufacturing was terminated (Jones 805-6). The first female cabinet member in American history, Frances Perkins, was appointed the Secretary of Labor (Jones 802). She was one of the few women in her time to gain equality in a male-dominated society. For most women, liberation was a bitter fight usually ending in defeat. 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" (306). Elisa's appearance, actions, and speech depict the frustration women felt in Steinbeck's masculine world of the 1930's. "Steinbeck's world," observes Charles A. Sweet, Jr., "is a man's world, a world that frustrates even minor league women's liberationists" (214).

This frustration is evident when Elisa is first introduced. Her figure is described as "blocked and heavy" because she is wearing heavy gloves, heavy shoes, a "man's black hat," and a big apron that hides her printed dress (Steinbeck 330). Her home has the masculine qualities of being "hard-swept" and hard-polished" (Steinbeck 330). Elisa is bored with her husband and with her life (McMahan 455). Obviously, Elisa is unhappy with the traditional female role and is attempti...


... middle of paper ...


...et al. America and Its People: Volume Two From 1865. London: Scott, Foresman, 1989.

McMahan, Elizabeth E. "'The Chrysanthemums': A Study of Woman's Sexuality." Modern Fiction Studies 14 (1968-69): 453-8.

Marcus, Mordecai. "The Lost Dream of Sex and Childbirth in 'The Chrysanthemums.'" Modern Fiction Studies 11 (1965): 54-8.

Osbourne, William R. "The Texts of Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums.'" Modern Fiction Studies 12 (1966-67): 479-84.

Renner, Stanley. "The Real Woman Inside The Fence In 'The Chrysanthemums.'" Modern Fiction Studies 31 (1985): 305-17.

Steinbeck, John. "The Chrysanthemums." Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan Day, and Robert Funk. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1989. 330-6.

Sweet, Charles A., Jr. "Ms. Elisa Allen and Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums.'" Modern Fiction Studies 20 (1974): 210-14.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck Essay - Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck "A symbol is an act, person, thing, or spectacle that stands for something else, by association a usually broader idea in addition to its own literal meaning" (Cassill & Bausch, 1728). John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" may seem as a story describing a simple day with the Allen couple. It begins with Elisa Allen working in her garden and her husband, Henry Allen, negotiating with two suited business men that want to purchase steers. They seem to engage in conversations and go about their day as they normally would do....   [tags: Chrysanthemums Steinbeck Literature Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1189 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
John Steinbeck's “The Chrysanthemums” Essay - John Steinbeck's “The Chrysanthemums” John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" shows the true feelings of the main character, Elisa Allen, through the use of setting and her interactions with other characters in the story. By way of vivid descriptions, Elisa's feelings of dissatisfaction over the lack of excitement in her life are portrayed. Her role as a mere housewife and then the subsequent change to feelings of a self-assured woman are clearly seen. These inner feelings are most apparent with the portrayal of Elisa working in the garden with the chrysanthemums, the conversation she has with the man passing through, and finally, when she and her husband are going out to dinner....   [tags: Steinbeck Chrysanthemums Essays] 1277 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
John Steinbeck’s Short Story, The Chrysanthemums Essay - Chrysanthemums She was wearing “a man’s black hat…clod-hopper shoes, heavy leather gloves” and “a big corduroy apron” doing her best to cover up her femininity. In John Steinbeck’s short story, “The Chrysanthemums”, we are introduced to Elisa Allen. Elisa is living during a period after the Great Depression when women’s rights issues were becoming a topic of public concern. Steinbeck uses the character Elisa Allen to portray the women’s struggle for equality. She is a woman deprived of social, personal and sexual fulfillment in a male-dominated world....   [tags: Chrysanthemums John Steinbeck] 1133 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Chrysanthemums, by John Steinbeck - When John Steinbeck mocks feminism he is trying to show how woman in the story are dominated by a male or by a male society in general. The work is introduced by finding the fault against all women. In the times when John Steinbeck wrote the story, The Chrysanthemums, women were seen as inferior. Many times men and women would perform a equal task, but the women would be oppressed just because of their gender The women were not seen in the same respect in any aspect that men were. The portrayal of women greatly influenced the way John Steinbeck wrote this story....   [tags: The Chrysanthemums essays] 389 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Alice Munro’s Boys and Girls and John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums Essay - The difference between men and women is a very controversial issue, while there are obviously physical differences; the problem is how the genders are treated. It is stereotypically thought that the men do the labor work and make all the money, while the women stay in the house, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. While this stereotype does not exist as much in the 21st century, it was very prevalent in the 1900s. By using many different literary tools such as character development, symbolism, and setting, Alice Munro’s Boys and Girls and John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums challenge this controversial topic of the treatment of women versus men in the 1900s....   [tags: Boys and Girls, The Chrysanthemums] 1440 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Elisa’s Unhappiness in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck Essays - John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums” centers on Eliza and her relationship with her husband Henry. Critic Gregory Palmerino brings light to their relationship issues. He argues: “everywhere there is conflict in ‘The Chrysanthemums,’ but nowhere is there a fight. This absence of friction prevents Henry and Elisa’s relationship from progressing, whether it be as lovers, partners or parents” (Palmerino 1). What Palmerino does not focus on is where these deep-rooted communications stem from....   [tags: The Chrysanthemums 2014]
:: 2 Works Cited
1450 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck - Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck "The Chrysanthemums", one of John Steinbeck's masterpieces, describes a lonely farmer's wife, Elisa Allen. Elisa Allen's physical appearance is very mannish yet still allows a hint of a feminine side to peek through. John Steinbeck brings symbolism into play to represent Elisa Allen's frustrations and hidden passions. Isolation is another representation through symbolism found in "The Chrysanthemums." Elisa's failing detached marriage is represented through two symbols....   [tags: Papers] 1560 words
(4.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Feminism in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums Essay - Feminism in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums   At first glance John Steinbeck’s "The Chrysanthemums" seems to be a story about a woman whose niche is in the garden. Upon deeper inspection the story has strong notes of feminism in the central character Elisa Allen.  Elisa’s actions and feelings reflect her struggle as a woman trying and failing to emasculate herself in a male dominated society. Elisa is at her strongest and most proud in the garden and becomes weak when placed in feminine positions such as going out to dinner with her husband....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
:: 1 Works Cited
824 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
the chrysanthemums Essay - “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck The short story “The Chrysanthemums” shows how extraordinarily forward thinking the author, John Steinbeck, was in his understanding of the pressures that women dealt with in his time. Through the exploration and illustration of women’s emotions, Steinbeck gives us a view into the struggle of women in the early 20th century to find a place for themselves in society as well as establishing their own sexuality(Charters, 502). The story starts out with the description of a grey fog over the place where the story is set....   [tags: essays research papers] 602 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay about Chrysanthemums - Throughout history, women have been portrayed as the weaker sex. As a result of these unfair social assumptions, women have been working hard to dissociate themselves from this stereotype and become more independent with their lives. In the story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, he describes Elisa Allen's frustration with her marriage, her sense of isolation from the world, and her hidden desires to express herself as a woman and to explore her sexuality by living a more passionate life....   [tags: John Steinbeck essays research papers]
:: 1 Works Cited
1127 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]