Oppression Of Women In John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums '

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From the beginning of creation, women have been oppressed; their lives and interests suppressed by society and the men around them. At first, women did not disapprove of taking care of the household, however, once they realized that they were not reaching fulfillment in their lives, this is when the fight for equality began. John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums”, illustrates the hardships women faced, most importantly Elisa Allen, when their lives were restricted with certain boundaries placed upon them by society. Men, like Henry Allen and the tinker, restricted women to the norms that society placed on women, regulating what women could and could not do; instead of allowing them to participate in daily tasks. These boundaries hindered Elisa’s life and obstructed her from leaving her impression on the world; alternatively having to succumb to society and play a feminine role in her community. Every individual is unique and desires to be embraced by…show more content…
In the opening of the story, Elisa is delineated as lean and strong; her body blocked and heavy. She wears a gardening costume, covering her physique, deceiving the outside world to, at a glance, recognize her as a man. Although Elisa wears a costume to perceive herself as a man, she engages in feminine activities, like cleaning and gardening. When preparing to go out to supper, Elisa dresses femininely, advertising who she physically is. Elisa is befuddled by the masculine and feminine traits presented in everything she undertakes. At times she is strong like a man and ready to quarrel for herself, but in a split second she changes, becoming feminine and surrendering to her role in society. Elisa aspires to escape from her prison and be free in a world to do whatever she pleases, yet how can Elisa flee her punishment with the boundaries placed upon her by society, the valley, men, and most importantly

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