Roman Fever and John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums


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"Roman Fever" and "The Chrysanthemums"  - A Comparison        


The two short stories have different characters, plot and setting and yet they have a common ground in which human beings are deeply involved.  In short, the setting of each work powerfully suggests a rather calm, dull and peaceful mood at a superficial level; however, the main characters are struggling from the uncontrollable passions and exploding desire at heart.  First of all, in "The Chrysanthemums" the Salinas Valley is depicted as somewhat dull, like "a closed pot."  In addition, its geographical setting represents an isolated atmosphere, and, furthermore, Elisa's actions of handling  chrysanthemums can be translated into a static, inactive one.  However, when it comes to her concealed passion, the whole picture in this piece can be interpreted in a different way.  In fact, Elisa is portrayed as "over-eager, over-powerful" in a sharp contrast to the unanimated space in which she lives.  On top of that, Elisa expresses her volition to explore uncharted worlds like the peddler who happens to visit her farm house. Also, it must be noted that, even though Elisa does not reveal her desire openly largely due to the authoritative patriarchal system,  Elisa's interior motive is directed toward the violent, bloody prizefights.  In other words, the imbalance between the relatively restricted setting and Elisa's vaulting desire to wander into the unknown territory is chiefly designed to strengthen the overall imagery of Elisa, whose drive to experience the violent outer world.  At the same time, it can be inferred that appearance (setting) and reality (Elisa's human nature) are hard to understand.

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"Roman Fever and John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Dec 2017
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  In this regard, "Roman Fever" provides an exquisitely similar portrait.  At first, there are various descriptions elevating a serene mood as follows: "diffused serenity", "the spring effulgence of the Roman skies", "the sky curved crystal clear" and  "The corner...still shadowy and deserted."  As shown above, readers are likely to be misled by a peaceful mood. 

 


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