Gender In The Chrysanthemums

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The short stories, “The Rocking Horse Winner” by D. H. Lawrence and “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck both share a common theme in terms of family relationships with the play “Beauty and the Beast” (1964 film) by Jean Cocteau. The theme of gender is an apparent feature in the family relationships of the characters in all these stories.
In John Steinbeck’s story of “The Chrysanthemums”, the theme of gender role stands out as a major theme. In her marriage, the character Elisa is trapped in the roles of housekeeper, gardener and wife. Even though she yearns for more action, she can observe from afar as her husband partakes in important business deals. As Steinbeck points out, “She looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then. Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful” (Steinbeck 1). Her excitement and enthusiasm towards what her husband and the businessmen are engaged in is quite obvious. She shows so much
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Through the story, Paul undergoes several transitions which include being cared for by a nanny to Latin and Greek lessons with a tutor and then dining with his parents. For any boy, transitioning to manhood is confusing and Paul is no exception. However, the fact that his parents are giving him conflicting ideas about what manhood entails does not help. Paul does not see a role model in his father whereas his mother has assumed the traditional roles of the father. Furthermore, his mother is the one who keeps pushing him to grow up to be more like his father. In the long run, it is her mother who Paul looks up to and fights to please. Before he dies Paul says to his mother “I never told you mother… did I tell you, I’m lucky” (Lawrence 47). He eventually bent to the wishes of his mother and took her insatiable desire as well as her belief in
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