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Jennifer Bowman Professor Chambers English 1302 6 June 2002 Breaking Free Throughout history women have been portrayed as the weaker sex As a result of these unfair social assumptions women have been working hard to dissociate themselves from this stereotype and become more independent with their lives Many prominent writers have addressed this matter in their stories John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums is one of those famous stories that deal with the feminist issue The story describes Elisa Allens frustration with her marriage her sense of isolation from the world and her hidden desires to express herself as a woman to explore her sexuality and live a more passionate life The setting plays a significant role in the story It reinforces Elisas feelings of isolation from the world The tale is set in the beautiful valley of Salinas California but with all its beauty this location takes on the role of some sort of prison in which one could feel trapped The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot 378 We can appreciate how this atmosphere could have a negative effect on a person Another part of the setting that plays an equally important roll is the fence that surrounds Elisas garden from her husband and the rest of the world Henry leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens 379 These animals represent Henrys world while the garden represents hers Henry always approaches the fence calmly and carefully never wanting to disrupt his wifes universe On the other hand when the tinker makes a visit he is much more carefree and leaned confidently over the fence 380 The tinker is the first person to want to enter her world Later Elisa decides to
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