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Discussing the Chrysanthemums.

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Discussing the Chrysanthemums In studying the various schools of criticism and using them to decipher the inner workings of novels, short stories, and poems, it becomes apparent that they all share a common factor: a theme. The theme of a story is the general idea or insight, which is revealed by the entire story (Kennedy, 195). Although there are many themes that seem to be similar, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to find to stories with identical themes. Two stories with similar themes, however, are "The Chrysanthemums," by John Steinbeck, and "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. These two stories show the damage caused by male domination in the past. The short story "The Chrysanthemums" gives insight into the life of its author; John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. The locale of the story is of key resemblance to the Salinas in which Steinbeck was born and bread. "Salinas was a typical American small town, [differing] only in location and a few distinctive features" (McCarthy 3). The story begins by displaying the setting: "The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and the rest of the world." ...read more.


In comparing the two men in this story it is simple to see that the tinker is much more romantic and exciting than Henry. In the conversation with the tinker, Elisa reveals something, which he uses to take advantage of her. As they begin to discuss Elisa's chrysanthemums, the tinker deliberately mentions how beautiful they are to make her feel appreciated. "[The lady] said to [the tinker], 'If you ever run across some nice chrysanthemums I wish you'd try to get me a few seeds' (Kennedy 249-250). The tinker makes this story about another woman to lead on Elisa. Because of the common link he has created, Elisa becomes interested in him, and though she soon realizes, and is ashamed of her actions, the tinker is still able to influence her to find him work. After paying the tinker for fixing a few saucepans, Elisa sends him off with the chrysanthemums. As Henry and Elisa ride off to dinner, she is able to distinguish a dark spot in the road up ahead: the chrysanthemums. It is now obvious to her that the tinker had lied, and she had been fooled. ...read more.


Through the early portions of the play, it becomes clear that she has strong feelings for Hamlet; however, her father forbids her from seeing him. This act begins to bring out the theme of male dominance. This theme continues to develop as Hamlet begins to feel differently towards Ophelia. As the plot develops, Polonius soon tells Ophelia that she must seek out Hamlet. Much to her dismay, Hamlet rejects her, and this begins a downward spiral for Ophelia. She begins acting in a depressed fashion, and everyone begins to think she has gone mad. Unfortunately, all the negative light placed upon Ophelia leads to her death. It is not certain whether she was murdered or whether she in fact committed suicide, but she came to a tragic end by drowning. The events in "Hamlet" and "The Chrysanthemums," though different in appearance show a very similar topic. The problem of male dominance is shown in both situations to devastate the emotions of the women. In showing respect and obedience for the male characters, the females are in fact hurting themselves. This theme of male dominance destroying the psyche of women has been, and will continue to be a major theme in literature. ...read more.

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