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John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums - Essay Example

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Elisa Allen is introduced to the reader as working in her garden, dressed in an unflattering, unfeminine gardening costume that made her looked “blocked and heavy” and a “man’s black hat”, to boot - in a manner of speaking. This gender ambivalent description of her appearance sets the theme of uncomfortable sexuality in the story. …
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John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums
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John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums

Download file to see previous pages... Speaking of the chrysanthemums as a symbolizing womanhood, one notices that symbols in this story are used with keen gender awareness. Elisa sees her husband talking to unknown men, engrossed - in a way, we suspect, that she is not used to being spoken to by her husband. The men are merely “business suits” who smoke while they talk. Because of the amazing brevity of this story, these men are never commented upon at length, and their “business suits” become symbolic of a professional life that Elisa has no access to. The business suits from, again symbolically enough, the “Western Meat Company” becomes a reminder of Elisa’s own trapped and restricted situation. To contrast this, the bearded vagabond and his wagon become symbolic of the unrestricted life on the road that Elisa so envies.Elisa’s situation of silent repression is expressed through these subtle symbols. Certain lines address this concern directly also. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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