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The Isolation and Depression of Women - Literature review Example

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The paper 'The Isolation and Depression of Women' women who have been discriminated not only in America during the early 20th century but also at present. However, the reality of the situation somehow tells us that it is not only the manipulative ways of man…
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The Isolation and Depression of Women
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Download file to see previous pages In the story, one symbolism used to represent the sensitivity and weakness of women is the chrysanthemums themselves. The chrysanthemums are described as having stems that are too small and easy for Elisa’s energy, and this is basically the same as her character. As a weak and sensitive woman, she easily becomes prey to the kindness displayed by the stranger. Just like the chrysanthemums that need to be constantly transplanted and regularly cut, women like Elisa easily believe what men tell them although this is not necessarily true. Moreover, the chrysanthemums are somehow ridiculed by Harvey when he tells Elisa, “Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across…I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big” (Steinbeck). This line clearly shows that no matter how big the chrysanthemums are, they are basically useless. In the same way, women, during times of famine in the Depression and during the time when the story was written, basically lacked utility. For example, Elisa is a “strong, capable woman” but she is “kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfillment by the prevailing conception of a woman’s role in a world dominated by men” (Renner 306). The women of early 20th century America were therefore believed to be strong yet useless.
Moreover, the chrysanthemums were symbolic of the neglect of men towards women. In the climax of the story, Elisa saw a “dark speck” on the ground and immediately realized that the tinker, to whom he had given the chrysanthemums and who promised to take care of them until he gives them to another gardener, deliberately simply dropped the chrysanthemums on the ground (Steinbeck). Thus, if the chrysanthemums were symbolic of the women in early 20th century America, this means that men like the tinker not only neglect them but also tell them lies and merely use them. Just like the chrysanthemums that were dropped by the tinker on the road, Elisa too looked like a “dark speck” herself, or a lowlife that deserved no care, or a piece of dirt which even remained indistinguishable from the dirt road itself, as she herself described the dark speck she saw. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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