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Chrysanthemums

In: English and Literature

Submitted By elocinicole1209
Words 586
Pages 3
Going back into history, women were always considered to be the "weaker sex." The social assumptions that women have had held over them has only made women fight harder to shake the stereotypes they have been given and show they are just as independet as men are and are equal to them too. "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck is a perfect example of the aggravation felt by a woman who is only being seen for her sex. The main charater, Elisa, lives with her husband, Henry. Elisa doesn't have any children or a job. Her main focus is her garden and her prize possession, her chrysanthmums. She takes care of these flowers with astounding care, keeping them save from anything that could harm them. The way a mother cares for her child is the way Elisa cares for her chrysanthemums. These flowers show Elisas hard work and dedication. Elisa's garden is a reflection of who she is as a person. She is smart, attractive, ambitious, and has many other great qualities, but just like her chrysanthemums, she has a fence or a boundary that she lives in. Since Elisa has these boundaries, it stops her from being herself, from seeing the world around her and causes her to isolate herself. Elisa gives her chrysanthemums the love and affection that her husband fails to give her. Henry could care less for her garden or her chrysanthemums and most importantly, his wife. By showing no interest in her flowers and down-talking his wife, it soon comes to Elisa's attention that she is slowly, but surely, detaching herself from the world outside of her garden. Henry believes in the strict stereotypes of men and women. He believes that women like going to the movies or cooking dinner and men like going to fights. Henry even teases his wife about taking her to a fight with him. Henry's attitude towards his wife is what makes her feel as if she cannot be her freeself. Also, it shows how in a society of men and women, men can not treat or see women as their equals. Later on in the story, Elisa meets a man who she finds exciting who is known as the Tinker in the story. He tries to convince the quiet wife to give him some work to do. Only after complimenting Elisa on her chrysanthemums, does she give him work to do. The Tinker shows some interest in Elisa, which she has not recieved before and sets her confidence higher than she has ever had it. She feels as if someone understands her passion and love for her garden so she gives the Tinker a gesture in return for all his hard work; a flower pot with some of her chrysanthemums. Later, Elisa begins to feel anger and disappointment because she sees her chrysanthemums, the ones she had planted into a pot for the Tinker, on the side of the road, tossed to the side as if they were nothing. Perhaps if women were seen equal to men, instead of being seen as weak, the Tinker would not have thrown her flowers into the road. Throughout the story, Elisa is in a constant battle with the stereotype that has been placed onto not only her, but all women. She feels as if she will always be seen as the "weaker sex." Elisa has built boundaries so high around herself, isolating herself from the outside world, that she will never know what true freedom feels like.

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