Gender Roles in Elisa Allen’s Chrysanthemum Garden

analytical Essay
1241 words
1241 words

Throughout history, equality among genders has been uncommon. Essentially, “roles filled by the two sexes do not bring the same power and privilege” (Marini 105). This aspect of gender suppression is present in American society even as this passage is read, but feminine oppression was widely prevalent during the early 1900s (Marini 107). Thus, this overarching theme of female subjugation and gender roles spurred exploration of equality and the feminist movement—of which sociologist Mirra Komarovsky was a prominent and influential thinker. She studied fifty-nine families between 1935 and 1936 and annotated the dynamic of Depression-era marriage by exploring the identities of husbands suffering unemployment for at least one year. With the help of her associate Michael Kimmel, Komarovsky reveals the common masculine identity of provider and accompanying feminine role of obedient homemaker that overwhelmed the Depression era; however, it is noted that some participants developed alternative working identities of husband and father. Yet, the sum of their family dynamic observances is stated as follows: “In the traditional patriarchal view of the family, the husband is expected to support and protect the wife, and she, in turn, to take care of his household, to honor and obey him.” (Komarovsky, Kimmel; 2). The constricted role of women during this epoch undoubtedly left women feeling hampered and dissatisfied with their limited freedoms, allowing the emerging ideas of feminism to shape the philosophy and material culture of America. Amidst this power struggle of the sexes, author John Steinbeck was hurriedly carving out his niche in the stone that is American literature. While drafting feasibly his most praised piece of literature, “The... ... middle of paper ... ... Upon the Status of the Man in Fifty-Nine Families.” Classics in Gender Studies (2004): 185. AltaMira Press. Web. 10 June 2014. Lewis, Leon. “The Chrysanthemums.” Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-3. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. Marini, Margaret Mooney. “Sex and Gender: What Do We Know?” Sociological Forum 5.1 (1990): 95-120. JSTOR. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. Price, Victoria. “The Chrysanthemums.” Masterplots 4th ed. (2010): 1-3. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 7 Oct. 2012. Renner, Stanley. “The Real Woman Inside the Fence in ‘The Chrysanthemums’.” Modern Fiction Studies 31.2 (1985): 305-317. John Hopkins U Press. Web. 18 June 2014. Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums.” Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Literature: an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 11th ed. New York: Longman, 2005. 226-233. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how sociologist mirra komarovsky studied fifty-nine families and annotated the dynamic of depression-era marriage by exploring the identities of husbands suffering unemployment for at least one year.
  • Analyzes how john steinbeck's "the chrysanthemums" incorporates the topic of gender inequality by casting the oppressed elisa allen as his main character.
  • Analyzes how "the chrysanthemums" uses elisa allen's character to capture the frustrated sensibilities of women stuck in rigid gender roles.
  • Analyzes how steinbeck portrays elisa's character as a stunning, sexually ripened woman in her own creation.
  • Analyzes how steinbeck captures women's exasperation with gender roles through his skilled use of symbolism. the chrysanthemums represent elisa with their strength and loveliness.
  • Analyzes how john steinbeck uses symbolism to convey gender inequality and the associated frustrations. setting and landscape also represent elisa allen's isolation.
  • Analyzes how steinbeck effectively represents elisa allen's imprisonment in her gender position effortlessly employing the wintry valley sealed by mountains and fog.
  • Analyzes how john steinbeck's "the chrysanthemums" displays the place in society women were forced to harbor during the early 1900s and specifically the depression era.
  • Describes the works of mirra komarovsky, michael kimmel, leon lewis, and margaret mooney.
  • Analyzes price, victoria's "the chrysanthemums." masterplots 4th ed. (2010): 1-3.
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