Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Historical, social, and economic circumstances separate people into rich and poor, landowner and tenant, and the people in the dominant roles struggle viciously to preserve their positions. In his brief history of California in Chapter 19, Steinbeck portrays the state as the product of land-hungry squatters who took the land from Mexicans and, by working it and making it produce, rendered it their own. Now, generations later, the California landowners see this historical example as a threat, since they believe that the influx of migrant farmers might cause history to repeat itself.
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 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. This frustration is evident when Elisa is first introduced.
Her home has the masculine qualities of being "hard-swept" and "hard-polished" Steinbeck Elisa is bored with her husband and with her life. According to Sweet, Elisa is unhappy with the traditional female role and is attempting to extend her abilities into masculine areas Elisa intially reacts to each situation as a man would, but is forever reminded that she is a woman.
When her husband, Henry, comments about her "strong" chrysanthemum crop, Elisa is pleased by the manliness the word implies, but her husband reminds her of her femininity by offering her an evening on the town. After this conversation with her husband, she goes back to her masculine role of transplanting the flowers.
The next situation involves the tinker. According to Sweet, he is to Elisa what the meat buyers were to Henry The tinker then hits her in her vulnerable spot--her chrysanthemums.
He pretends to be interested in her love for her flowers. He compares her flowers to a "quick puff of colored smoke" Steinbeck She is attracted to the tinker because, as Stanley Renner points out, he represents a world of adventure and freedom that only men enjoy She allows her emotions to control her and lets go of her masculine side, freeing her central feminine sexuality, according to Sweet By the time she realizes her feminine emotions, it is too late: She has allowed herself to become emotional, "the trait women possess," whereas men conduct business unemotionally Sweet Elisa realizes her hopes for equality are nothing but a dream because she has been betrayed by her basic nature and by men.
She gives the tinker the seedling and retreats indoors to find him some pots to mend. After the tinker leaves, Elisa goes indoors to bathe. She scrubs herself "until her skin was scratched and red" Steinbeck By this action, Elisa is unconsciously withdrawing back to her feminine side and cleansing herself "of the masculine situation by turning to the feminine world in which she best functions" Sweet When she dresses, she puts on her best underwear and applies makeup to her face.
By doing these purely feminine things, according to Marcus, she hopes to accentuate her role as a woman Henry immediately notices the transformation and compliments her with the feminine "nice" instead of "strong," which is masculine.
Elisa prefers "strong," but the meaning of it has changed from "masculine equal" to "feminine overlord" Sweet Henry warms the car up to go into town while Elisa gets herself ready. As they drive along, Elisa spots the flowers she had given the tinker beside the road. 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 Her only goal is to become "an old woman" Steinbeck Because she has gone back to her feminine role, according to Renner, "she remains a pitiable victim of male domination and female disadvantage" Throughout the story, Elisa suffers a regression from the masculine role she sees as equality to the feminine role she sees as submissive.
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. Steinbeck portrays women according to his time period. Works Cited Jones, James H. America and Its People: Volume Two From A summary of Themes in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Grapes of Wrath and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. 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.
Sep 01, · The Unfulfilled Elisa in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums “The Chrysanthemums” is a short story in The Long Valley, a collection of short stories by John Steinbeck. This story dramatizes the efforts made by a housewife, Elisa Allen, to compensate for the disappointments which she has encountered in her life.
John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums The short story “The Chrysanthemums,” by John Steinbeck, is a multi-layered work that contains various symbolic meanings, it is said to be “ one of the best things he ever did” (Parini ).
The day after Steinbeck's death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in The New York Times: "John Steinbeck's first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath.".
The Chrysanthemums Gender Role A Woman’s Frustration in the Gender-Divided World --An Analysis of Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” In his letter to a friend, John Steinbeck talks about his newly composed short story “The Chrysanthemums”: “It is entirely different and is designed to strike without the reader’s knowledge” (qtd.