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Feminism in John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums 750 word paper At first glance John Steinbecks The Chrysanthemums seems to be a story about a woman whose niche is in the garden Upon deeper inspection the story has strong notes of feminism in the central character Elisa Allen Elisas actions and feelings reflect her struggle as a woman trying and failing to emasculate herself in a male dominated society Elisa is at her strongest and most proud in the garden and becomes weak when placed in feminine positions such as going out to dinner with her husband Steinbeck smartly narrates this womans frequent shifts between femininity and masculinity over a short period of time In the opening of the story Elisa is emasculated by the description of her clothing She wears a mans black hat pulled low down over her eyes clodhopper shoes a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron paragraph 5 When Elisas husband Henry comes over and compliments her garden and ability to grow things Elisa is smug with him and very proud of her skill with the flowers Her green thumb makes her an equal in her own eyes When Elisas husband asks her if she would like to go to dinner her feminine side comes out She is excited to go eat at a restaurant and states that she would much rather go to the movies than go see the fights she wouldnt like the fights at all paragraph 21 Elisa is taken aback with her own submissiveness and quickly becomes preoccupied with her flowers as soon as her husband leaves When the drifter comes and asks Elisa for work to do
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