The Chrysanthemums Character Analysis

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While John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” characters have both Physical and emotional masculine characteristics, Steinbeck’s character, Elisa, can not fully accept this characteristic due to society seeing women as weak. Voskuil’s character, Mama, only thinks about being more feminine to gain her oldest daughters acceptance. In Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums,” Elisa is described as a masculine women even though society would rather her not be. After a moment of watching her husband, Steinbeck describes Eliza's appearance: “Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were clear as water. Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume…” (449). Steinbeck’s strong description of Elisa suggests…show more content…
Skredsvig further explains that Elisa has more to her masculin figure/personality than most people will acknowledge: “From the evidence of the house and garden, it appears that her energy level and competence are equally high, even though her potential is less than fully developed. Her conversation with the tinker, her constant observation of her husband's business dealings, and her desire to "prove herself" with the orchards all seem to indicate unexploited potential” (Skredsvig). This evidence suggests that there's more than meets the eye in Elisa’s life. In “Everyday Use” Walker’s character “Mama’ accepts the fact that she has masculine characteristics. “Everyday use” shows that while Mama describes her daydream, Walker explains Mamas true feelings about being masculine: “One winter I knocked a bull straight in the brain...had the meat hung up to chill before nightfall” (470). The way Walker describes mama, shows that she accepts and is very proud of who…show more content…
As Elisa speaks to the tinker, Steinbeck shows how the tinker feels about women: “It must be nice,” she said. “It must be very nice. I wish women could do such things.” “It ain’t the right kind of a life for a woman” (455). The word choices Steinbeck made emphasize how the tinker thinks women should stick to house work. In “Women’s Space,” the author also shows how the tinker feels by further explaining his actions: “On the way into town, Elisa sees the tinker's caravan up ahead, and her chrysanthemum sprouts on the ground beside the road. And although she tries to avoid both the sight of the plants and the unavoidable conclusion that what she values most highly about herself is of no consequence to anyone else, she is unsuccessful. At best, the tinker's careless discarding of the plants (he keeps the pot) implies indifference, at worst, disdain or rejection” (Skredsvig). Again, Skredsvig uses evidence to prove the tinker is set on Elisa/women to stay housewives. In “Everyday Use,” Walker describes how the daughter feels about her mother’s masculinity. As Mama daydreams of being on t.v, she explains how her daughter, Dee, sees her: “I am the way my daughter would want me to be: a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley pancake. My hair glistens in the hot bright lights” (470). Walker shows that Mama already
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