Injustice and discrimination is increasingly becoming common around us. Many social phenomena indicate that women were frequently the victims in these situations. In the past, many women’s sacrifices were common as they resigned from their jobs to take care of their families. Even today, all of the domestic work is done by women, which restricts women’s occupations. P/V (ETS They sacrificed their lives and careers and did not get the appreciation they deserved. In the early 1900s, John Steinbeck penned the short novel “The Chrysanthemum,” which clearly explains why women are victims of patriarchy. Although it has been interpreted differently by different individuals and by different eyes, I think most of the content is feminist, which is consistently discovered by current points of view and insight. The primary character, Elisa Allen, has great emotional changes as the plot develops, and it typically illustrates her circumstances. This essay will review various works of literature to get familiar with scholars’ different arguments, critics, and discussions about the text.
Meagan Ellis argues that the author’s work attracted a lot of criticism for showcasing male and female power struggles, although it virtually examined the issue from a feminist perspective (Ellis 46). She gives an example of how authors such as William V. Miller, in his work, “Sexual and Spiritual Ambiguity in ‘The Chrysanthemums”” focuses on the main Article Error (ETS character, Elisa, and claims that the source of her emotional suffering is a level of sexual desire that is left unmet throughout the work. Kenneth Pellow takes a slight detour from feminist criticism and concentrates on the pattern of animal imagery linking Elisa to the tinker’s “mongrel dog” (Steinbeck 11). He uses this to depict the issue in Steinbeck’s story.
According to Steinbeck’s argument in the article, all of the animals in ‘The Chrysanthemums,” “are oppressed, trapped, neglected, or overpowered by the mechanical and mechanistic world, much like Elisa.” (Steinbeck 11). The author contrasts this by comparing the PN men in the story and the consumerist society that exploits the farm’s natural resources for personal gain. Therefore, in contrast to most readings, Pellow expands his argument beyond the traditional interpretation of the battle of the sexes to include the conflict between the natural environment and the industrial world.
Like Pellow, other critics have asserted that “The Chrysanthemums”” feminist suggestions cannot be avoided. Steinbeck, whose biography includes Marxism, and the obvious proletarian Article Error (ETS motifs he uses in other works raise the possibility that his supposedly apolitical writings contain political undertones. The gender conflict in Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” can be used to show how oppression whether it be based on financial class, race, gender, or another factor can have a harmful impact on all parts of society (Ellis 47). Through his original use of focalization, Steinbeck constructs a figure who is not only the target of patriarchal tyranny but also a metaphor for how easily people may dominate and subjugate one another in all spheres of life.
Palmerino argues that the description of the Salinas environment in the first paragraph of “The Chrysanthemums” gives the reader a sensation of confinement and constriction (Palmerino 164). “The heavy grey-flannel fog of winter blocked off the Salinas Valley from the sky and the rest of the world,” as written by Steinbeck in his story, serves as the mountains’ lids on all sides, closing in the vast valley (Steinbeck 1). However, the narrator swiftly dispels this hope by saying, “but fog and rain don’t go together,” after describing how the farmers are tending to the land hope for a “good rain” (1). This expression implies that a seemingly harmful force prevents something positive from happening.
Steinbeck describes her “costume” in great detail, making her the focal point of the scene even though she is the least active character. “Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clodhopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets… To protect her hands while working, she donned thick gloves” (Steinbeck, 1-2). In the reader’s peripheral vision, the three guys are barely distinguishable from the cows they are talking about. Article Error (ETS According to Palmerino, GJ., this type of strategic delineation is known as focalization, which is “the lens through which we observe characters and events within the narrative.” (166). Focusing is supposed to direct the audience’s attention to the character driving the story’s action and provide insight into their inner thoughts and emotions, much like special lighting on a theatrical stage.
Palmerino also believes that Elisa’s physical traits are barely mentioned, which leaves the reader with only a general idea of what makes her unique. In this way, I agree with the author as “beautiful” and “handsome” are mostly used to describe the character. Other physical descriptions, like the one of her drab gardening garb, in the beginning, are given in conjunction with exterior qualities but do not expressly mention her face or other physical traits. This proves how Steinbeck produces an everywoman figure that each audience member can customize in their own image by withholding a lot of specific information about his protagonist. This allows Steinbeck to produce the “international implication” Palmerino cites as a crucial component of proletarian fiction. She is relatable to all women. Therefore her misery essentially becomes the plight of all women.
The novel is also defined by Calvin E. Harris in his work, “Analysis of Proletarian Fiction,” as being Marxist-oriented and reflecting the commitment of a movement dedicated to changing our society in a fundamental sense.” Although some of Steinbeck’s works, like “In PIV ETS Dubious Battle” or “Tortilla Flat,” deal explicitly with Marxist scenarios, many more of his works still reflect the core principles of the proletarian novel (2). In his article “Proletarian Writing and John Steinbeck,” Claude E. Jones discusses how, in contrast to Harris’s definition, Possessive (ETS) proletarian fiction can be characterized by the development of a Marxist economy in which one party exerts significant control over the other (446), a concept that, to contemporary Marxist critics, is more commonly referred to as “hegemony” (Dobie 99). Jones adds that the necessity to “overthrow” the current structure through revolution defines proletarian works (446). Finally, he argues that for a work to be considered proletariat, it must have “international consequences” or Article Error (ETS raise issues relevant to the average person.
While scholar Palmerino describes Elisa as a character who changes in the plot, we can all see that at some point, her behavior radically changes when she interacts with the story’s primary antagonist, the tinker. It is clear from the start of their chat that Elisa feels more comfortable speaking with this odd man with a wild appearance than with her husband. In contrast to her stiff, guarded demeanor when contemplating dinner with Henry, she is relaxed enough to share a joke with the tinker. Elisa is also at ease enough to literally and figuratively Proofread (ETS undress in front of him as she removes her gloves rather than putting them back on when she is with her husband (Steinbeck 5). This seemingly inconsequential movement hints at the sexual energy that permeates their relationships. The tinker’s physical appeal is not attractive; however, there is a good indicator of the mounting sexual tension between them.
In conclusion, “The Chrysanthemums,” just like any other proletarian fiction cliché, is left open-ended. This is displayed and discussed by all analysts and critics of the story. The author intents to let the reader feel sympathy for Elisa since she was used as a pawn by the tinker, leaving her entirely devoid of her sexual strength and potency. Elisa’s obvious physical reactions allow the reader to readily put themselves in her shoes and deeply experience her emotions, thanks to Steinbeck’s use of focalization. As a result, “The Chrysanthemums” is transformed into a tale about the effects of persecution on people worldwide and the emotional perils of accepting cultural dogma.