Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Symbols of Steinbeck’s Social Commentary Essays -- Literary Analysis

People in the 1930s were fighting a losing participation with themselves. They were approaching a depression, facing the eyes of war, and trying to stay on their feet with what little resources they had. Most were farmers and made a living by manual(a) labor. The majority of what they owned, they made themselves. Such is the setting in John Steinbecks critically acclaimed short story The Chrysanthemums. In this story, Steinbeck set out to winder a portrait of what the conditions of the people were really like, but in a different light. Instead of focusing on technicalities, he focused on what the heart of America was going throughthe struggles between what social standards expect and what individuals desired. In The Chrysanthemums, Steinbeck uses the characters Elisa Allen, the Tinker, and Henry Allen to exemplify the different personas of the time, and to reveal authorized truths of society associated with each. Elisa Allen lives a peaceful life, but is fighting a cons tant battle with the prejudicial, parental society against her as a female. As Kenneth Kempton, author of Short Stories for Study, notes, whether it is freedom suggested by the nomadic life of the tinker, or children symbolized by her care of the young plants, or manliness as indicated by her delight in her strength and her masochist scrubbing of her body in the bath, or a normal sex life hinted at by her accent with when with her possibly impotent husband, or merely her lost youth as implied at the end, Elisa is struggling inwardly. Beginning with a particular description of the Salinas River Valley, which is enclosed in blur like a pot, the sensible surroundings echo Elisas lifestyle. In fact, the chrysanthemum stems seemed too smaller and easy for her ene... ...n the bright direction of the Tinker. Had the Tinker been better able to incarnate himself, perhaps he would not have had to throw Elisas chrysanthemums on the side of the road. Opportunity, although presented to ea ch of the characters, was never fully grasped, and so it remained, that fog and rain did not go together. Works CitedKempton, Kenneth Payson. Objectivity as Approach. Short Stories for Study. Cambridge Mass. Harvard UP, 1953. 120-24. Print. Palmerino, Gregory J. Steinbecks THE CHRYSANTHEMUMS. Rev. of The Chrysanthemums Explicator 62.3 (2004) 164-67. Literary Reference Center. Web. Price, Victoria. The Chrysanthemums. Masterplots. 4th ed. Pasadena, CA Salem, 2011. 1-3. Print. Sheets-Nesbitt, Anna, ed. The Chrysanthemums. Short layer Criticism. Ed. Anja Barnard. Vol. 37. Detroit Gale Group, 2000. 320-63. Print.

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