A Twentieth-Century Countrywoman in Steinbeck's ‘The Chrysanthemums’: A Socio-Cultural Study of Oppression
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, LITERATURE AND TRANSLATION, 2019
6 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2019
Date Written: May 31, 2019
‘The Chrysanthemums’ is a short story written by John Steinbeck and published in his collection of short stories, called The Long Valley, in which, the author focuses on the description of symbolic elements such as nature to narrate his stories. Steinbeck excessively uses symbolism in his stories, and ‘The Chrysanthemums,’ a selected story from the collection is falling into the same category. With the combination of realism and imagination, Steinbeck describes social issues and shares an image of society to his audience. ‘The Chrysanthemums’ refers to the male patriarchal society, and the protagonist of the story — a woman called Elisa — cannot show her abilities because of social limitations. This issue is clearly revealed in Elissa’s relationship with her husband and her communication with a stranger who visits the farm. Through the story, the chrysanthemums play a great role and symbolize Elisa’s sexuality or artistic sensibility that are revealed through her communicative manner with her husband and either other members of the society.
Keywords: Gender Inequality, John Steinbeck, Symbolism, Loneliness, Patriarchal Society
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