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Steinbeck Paper Essay, Research Paper

The Chrysanthemums

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John Steinbeck, in his short narrative & # 8220 ; The Chrysanthemums & # 8221 ; depicts the tests of a adult female trying to derive power in a adult male & # 8217 ; s universe. Elisa Allen tries to specify the boundaries of her function as a adult female in such a closed society. While her environment is portrayed as a tool for societal repression, it is through nature in her garden where Elisa additions and shows off her power. As the narrative progresses, Elisa has problem widening this power outside of the fencing that surrounds her garden. Elisa learns but does non readily accept, that she possesses a feminine power weak for the clip, non the masculine one she had tried so difficult to accomplish through its imitation.

The action of the narrative opens with Elisa Allen working in her garden. She is surrounded by a wire fencing, which physically is at that place to protect her flowers from the farm animate beings. This barrier symbolizes her life. She is fenced in from the existent universe, from a adult male & # 8217 ; s universe. It is a smaller, on-earth version of the environment in which they live. As Elisa works on her garden, she looks through the fencing out to where her hubby, Henry, is speaking with two work forces in concern suits. They look at a tractor and fume, manfully things, as they conclude their adult male & # 8217 ; s work. As she looks out to these work forces, we look at Elisa. Although she is making the & # 8220 ; feminine & # 8221 ; work of horticulture, she is dressed like a adult male. She wore a black chapeau low on her brow to cover her hair, thick leather baseball mitts covered her custodies, and brogan places covering her little adult female & # 8217 ; s pess. A & # 8220 ; large corduroy apron & # 8221 ; covered the frock doing & # 8220 ; her figure expression blocked and heavy & # 8221 ; . Unconsciously, as she looks through her fencing at the work forces speaking concern, she is seeking to cover up her feminine qualities. She longs to be in their place and possess their features.

As she does her horticulture, something she enjoys and excels in, & # 8220 ; Her face was thin and strong tidal bore and mature and handsome & # 8221 ; . Her usage of the scissors is described as & # 8220 ; over-eager & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; over-powerful & # 8221 ; . All of these features are normally masculine adjectives. But in this instance they describe a adult female trying or at least conceive ofing life as a portion of such a adult male & # 8217 ; s universe. Yet Elisa & # 8217 ; s power is non used for & # 8220 ; masculine & # 8221 ; activities ; in fact, her power is derived from a feminine beginning, nature. Mother Nature, a female, controls the environment. This female power is portion of matriarchal line of descent since Elisa & # 8217 ; a female parent besides & # 8220 ; could lodge anything in the land and do it turn & # 8221 ; . She enjoys coming into contact with the Earth as she digs and pushes the soil around her chrysanthemums. She destroyed plagues with her fingers and besides set these fingers & # 8220 ; into the wood of new green chrysanthemum sprouts that were turning around the old roots & # 8221 ; . Her fingers are described as & # 8220 ; terrier, & # 8221 ; literally of the Earth Elisa is apparently ambivalent about which side of herself to demo to her hubby and the universe. While she wants to look strong, it seems to go against her function of being the pretty married woman. When her hubby all of a sudden comes up behind her, she instantly pulls on her baseball mitts once more. This could be to cover her soiled custodies, but it besides covers them, concealing her muliebrity. However, she is proud of her horticulture for & # 8220 ; in her tone and on her face there was a small smugness & # 8221 ; with her hubby & # 8217 ; s compliment. When Henry even suggests she could utilize her endowments in the apple grove & # 8220 ; her eyes sharpened & # 8221 ; . Elisa shows off her power stating, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; I & # 8217 ; ve a gift with things, wholly right & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . The apple grove is portion of the adult male & # 8217 ; s universe, affecting turning nutrient for ingestion. This is outside of her fenced in garden. As her hubby comes to speak with her, while she enjoys demoing off her garden, she seems to experience sub-subservient to him. As he kids her about traveling to the award battles later that twenty-four hours, she responds in a breathless tone that she would non wish them, uncomprehending the jesting nature of his remark. She goes back to her work, back to her orderly universe of the Earth and the chrysanthemums.

Following appears the eventual adversary, the adult male who will alter, and so alter back Elisa & # 8217 ; s feelings on female power relationships with work forces. The alien pulls up in his spring-wagon to sell his services, which is repairing family, metallic points. As he converses with her, the adult male tells of his sedulous travels up and down the West Coast and asks for waies back to the chief route. Elisa notices the & # 8220 ; calloused custodies he rested on the wire fencing were cracked, and every cleft was a black line & # 8221 ; . This adult male besides worked with his custodies in nature. Still trying to demo her feminine side, & # 8220 ; she stood up and shoved the thick scissors in her apron pocket & # 8221 ; . Yet, besides with this action Elisa besides may hold recognized she was approximately to come in into a normal male concern conversation affecting bargaining and denying services. Since she knew this adult male would likely inquire for something to repair, she hid her scissors. There is a little undertone of sexual undertones as the adult male rubbed his finger on the wire. Elisa removed her baseball mitts and so played with the adult male & # 8217 ; s hat. But if this is the instance it is merely Elisa trying to demo off her feminine qualities. The traveller gets right down to concern. Elisa seems to understand and so take on the function of a hard-boiled man of affairs. With the adult male & # 8217 ; s first enquiry, she refuses and & # 8220 ; her eyes hardened with opposition & # 8221 ; . Even a 3rd clip she refuses him stating, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; I tell you I have nil like that for you to make & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . In this function as man of affairs, Elisa has succeeded, but merely for the minute.

Elisa & # 8217 ; s beginning of power is besides her point of failing. After neglecting for a 4th clip to involvement Elisa, in fact, merely wining in annoying her, he asks about her flowers. This piques Elisa & # 8217 ; s involvement to the highest extremum ; all of a sudden her face undergoes a noticeable alteration: & # 8220 ; the annoyance and opposition melted from Elisa & # 8217 ; s face & # 8221 ; . She is able to speak to a adult male about something, inform him of something she knows more about than he does. Elisa & # 8217 ; s artlessness in the concern universe does non let her to understand the sneaky fast ones work forces play to acquire what they want. To the reader it seems reasonably obvious that the alien has merely asked about these flowers to acquire on Elisa & # 8217 ; s good side, but she is unmindful to the fact. As becomes apparent, the pedlar has taken the maneuver of seeking to link with Elisa on a personal degree so she will hold emotions for him, finally purchasing his service. An illustration comes when he rapidly abjure

s his statement that the chrysanthemums smell “nasty” at first, to holding that they have a “good bitter smell” as Elisa replied.

As he workss a narrative about necessitating some chrysanthemums for another client, she one time once more begins to warm to him. Elisa now welcomes this adult male into her universe, she invites him, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Come into the yard & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . Now inside the gate, she forgets about moving like a lady to the outside universe: & # 8220 ; The baseball mitts were forgotten now. She kneeled on the land by the starting bed and delve up the flaxen dirt with her fingers and scooped it into the bright new flower pot With her strong fingers she pressed them into the sand and tamped around them with her brass knuckss & # 8221 ; . This non a & # 8220 ; feminine & # 8221 ; action because it shows her physical strength ; it shows her natural power. She is non merely an first-class nurseryman but she really communes with nature.

She tells the adult male about the manner that she becomes alive when working with her chrysanthemums, the manner her custodies become & # 8220 ; seting custodies & # 8221 ; . It is this term which best describes the feminine power Elisa receives from nature and feels as she works in her garden. She attempts to explicate this feeling to the adult male stating, & # 8220 ; Everything goes down into your fingertips They & # 8217 ; rhenium with the works When you & # 8217 ; rheniums like that you can & # 8217 ; t do anything incorrect & # 8221 ; . For Elisa, this is the ultimate look of herself. The storyteller tells us, & # 8220 ; She was kneeling on the land looking up at him. Her chest swelled passionately & # 8221 ; . She bares her psyche and in consequence shows all of her power to this adult male. While she physically is beneath him, she believes them on an equal degree in their natural power. She inquiries him: & # 8220 ; Do you see that? Can you understand that? & # 8221 ; .

Again she tries to happen something in common with the adult male and trusts she knows how he must experience going entirely across the land. For a 2nd clip, Elisa seems to turn this misguided connexion into something sexual. Remembering the dark sky she says, & # 8220 ; Every pointed star gets driven into your organic structure. It & # 8217 ; s like that. Hot and crisp and lovely & # 8221 ; . From her place still on the land where she is closest to her power beginning, she reaches out towards the adult male & # 8217 ; s bloomerss. With the storyteller & # 8217 ; s description of her like a fawning Canis familiaris, she seems to hold something kindred to puppy love. But this show of feminine power is inexplicable to the adult male who turns the conversation back to concern. Elisa realizes her error and gives into the adult male, happening him a few old pots to repair. Now both caput into the adult male & # 8217 ; s universe through the gate where Elisa watches the adult male work with his anvil and cock, work forces & # 8217 ; s tools. As she watches the adult male work on the saucepans she ponders aloud making the same type of work and travel he does stating & # 8220 ; I wish adult females could make such things & # 8221 ; . The pedlar protested with a typical male response, & # 8220 ; It ain & # 8217 ; t the right sort of life for a adult female & # 8221 ; . Elisa tells the alien, & # 8220 ; You might be surprised to hold a rival sometime I could demo you what a adult female might make & # 8221 ; . This reveals how Elisa feels about her life and the lives of adult female of the clip period. Although they want to interrupt free of the fencings around them, it would be socially unacceptable to make so. As the adult male left she whispered, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; That & # 8217 ; s a bright way. There & # 8217 ; s a radiance at that place & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . She is imaging this pedlar & # 8217 ; s freedom, both sidelong and perpendicular mobility in society.

Now Elisa turns to fixing herself for the flushing out with her hubby. She scrubbed every portion of her organic structure pass overing the soil or this mark of her strength from nature off of her organic structure. She now wants to work her feminine attractive appeals for her hubby, but even more for herself to see if she still has such powers at the age of 35. In the mirror & # 8220 ; she tightened her tummy and threw out her thorax & # 8221 ; . She dressed with & # 8220 ; her newest underwear and her nicest stocking and the frock which was the symbol of her cuteness & # 8221 ; . She continues to stress her female organic structure including blushing her lips, one of the ultimate marks of muliebrity. Elisa is working on her physical beauty, instead than her strength.

As she waited for her hubby, Elisa noticed & # 8220 ; that under the high Grey fog [ the willow trees ] seemed a thin set of sunlight & # 8221 ; . Elisa seems some hope in adult females & # 8217 ; s hereafters at this point. When Henry sees Elisa he is surprised at her visual aspect. He says, & # 8220 ; Why, – why Elisa. You look so nice! I mean you look different, strong and happy & # 8221 ; . She inquiries: & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; What do you intend & # 8217 ; strong & # 8217 ; ? ‘ & # 8221 ; His reply came in a baffled tone, since his married woman likely ne’er talked to him like this before: & # 8220 ; You look strong plenty to interrupt a calf over your articulatio genus, happy plenty to eat it like a Citrullus vulgaris & # 8221 ; . But this is non the reply Elisa was looking for any longer. Although this may hold satisfied the Elisa whose power hunt focused on her being like a adult male, she now wants to hold a sort of feminine appeal as a 2nd power. The storyteller says, & # 8220 ; For a 2nd she lost her rigidness & # 8221 ; . Then Elisa says, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Henry! Don & # 8217 ; t speak like that. You don & # 8217 ; t cognize what you said & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . But rapidly she recovered self-praise, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; I & # 8217 ; m strong & # 8217 ; & # 8216 ; I ne’er knew how strong & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . She so feels powerful plenty as a adult female to maintain her hubby deliberately waiting in the auto for her.

Elisa & # 8217 ; s sense of power hits a bump in the route, as they drive into Salinas. Elisa sees the chrysanthemum sprouts thrown into the route. Apparently, she expected this after her concluding brush with the adult male, and notices he kept the pot she had given him, since it had some pecuniary worth. As they passed the pedlar & # 8217 ; s waggon, she turned off so as non to see it. Henry noticed a alteration in her expression, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Now you & # 8217 ; rheniums changed once more & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; . Her strength weakens. She inquiries her hubby if the work forces in the prize fights of all time hurt one another. Henry responds in the affirmatory. Finally she asks, & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Do adult females of all time go to the battles? & # 8221 ; . Elisa is inquiring if as a adult female she could come in a adult male & # 8217 ; s universe of concern and other & # 8220 ; masculine & # 8221 ; duties. Her hubby now asks if she wants to travel and she responds, & # 8220 ; Oh, no. No. I don & # 8217 ; t want to travel. I & # 8217 ; thousand sure I don & # 8217 ; t & # 8221 ; . Elisa now to the full understands that she does non desire to derive power from a adult male & # 8217 ; s sphere in the universe. The & # 8220 ; vino & # 8221 ; she wants at dinner is a manner to demo her credence of this fact, of the typical married life of a adult female. She condemns herself to trying to derive power through normal female efforts in a inactive society. Elisa calls at the terminal, doing her expression & # 8220 ; like an old adult female & # 8221 ; with the realisation of this fact, that so, she will go on to age into the function of an old adult female still enclosed by society.

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