A Pair Of Silk Stockings And The Chrysanthemums Analysis

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Did you know that in 1900, only 19% of women in the U.S. held jobs? By 1998, this number had nearly tripled to 60%! During the early 1900’s women didn’t realize their full potential or their role in society as females. The theme I am going to analyze is the journey that the women in two stories experience as they search for their personal identities. Both “A Pair of Silk Stockings” by Kate Chopin and “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck deal with the journey to one’s identity, but they do so in different ways. In 1896 Kate Chopin wrote the story, “A Pair of Silk Stockings”, it takes place in an unnamed city large enough to have a department store, a fashionable restaurant, a theatre, a cable car and most likely depicts what it was like…show more content…
Elisa is thirty-five and strong, she has a passion for her gardening and tends to the Chrysanthemums on the farm. She is usually left out of business deals and her husband doesn’t necessarily allow her to help out with the orchard. One day a man advertising his services as a tinker who repairs pots and pans rolls along down the road. He stops and asks Elisa if he can be any service to her but she is confident in her abilities and replies with a no, although she is interested in his adventurous journey and his way of business. The tinker quickly says, “It ain’t the right kind of a life for a woman” when Elisa shows an interest in his way of life. She finds this very demeaning but is quickly distracted when the tinker asks about her Chrysanthemums. Unfortunately, he only does this to trick her into giving him work to do. After Elisa pays him and gives him a pot full of dirt and Chrysanthemums to give to another customer of his, he heads out. Elisa and her husband have plans set later to go out to dinner, although Elisa has other ideas in mind. She curiously asks her husband if women go to the fights but again she is let down when he responds, “Oh, sure, some. What’s the matter, Elisa? Do you want to go? I don’t think you’d like it, but I’ll take you if you really want to go” (Steinbeck 5). From what I can tell the author sends the…show more content…
In both texts Mrs. Sommers and Elisa realize the establishment of limitations that society puts on them. Mrs. Sommers is a house wife and a mother, she tends to put her husband’s and children’s needs before her own. Similarly, Elisa is married and experiences her abilities being limited because her husband takes over everything except for the Chrysanthemums on the farm. I feel in both stories the women in a way envy the men and their ability to do almost everything because of their status in society. However, Mrs. Sommers recollects memories from her past to the times from which she was single and could indulge more in life when she didn’t have children to care for. I noticed this very clearly when Kate Chopin wrote, “In truth, he saw nothing-unless he were wizard enough to detect a poignant wish, a powerful longing that the cable car would never stop anywhere but go on and on with her forever” (Chopin 5). I feel Mrs. Sommers doesn’t regret anything but she realizes the difference between the two ways of life and at the same time she misses that luxury. On the other hand, Elisa is influenced by outside occurrences such as the tinker who was too quick to judge her because of her gender. When I read, “She was cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors.

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