The role of women in society according to Ernest Hemmingway's "Hills like White Elephants", Steinbeck's The "Chrysanthemums", and James Joyce's "Eveline."

Essay by buentellUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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The role of women in society is constantly questioned and for centuries women have struggled to find their place in a world that is predominantly male oriented. Literature provides the reader a window into the lives, thoughts, and actions of women. Ernest Hemmingway's "Hills like White Elephants", Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums", and James Joyce's "Eveline" each paint a picture of women who has failed to break away from their male companions.

Elisa Allen is a lonely woman who enjoys growing her chrysanthemums. Since her husband is always working the cattle on their farm, she never has enough attention or any kind of affection. The result of this dispassionate marriage leads Steinbeck to describe his main character as follows, "Her face lean and strong...Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled down...clodhopper shoes...completely covered by a big corduroy apron..." (Steinbeck 260). This neglect from her husband causes her to turn to her chrysanthemums, of which she is very proud.

Her husband's remark, "I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big" (261), shows how little interest he has for her chrysanthemums and herself. This story illustrates the neglect Elisa feels by her husband and shows how this leads her to channel her energy into her chrysanthemums instead of her marriage.

In Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" the reader is introduced to Jig. Jig is a woman who lacks the ability to make decisions without the approval and recognition of her unborn child's father. In the story, "The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building" (Hemingway 248). The girl comments on the hills in the background, and how they look like white elephants. Her boyfriend just ignores her and...