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An Ecofeminist Approach To "The Chrysanthemums"

Posted on:2010-11-25Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:L L ZhangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360275995064Subject:English Language and Literature
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Ecofeminism emerged in the 1970s and became recognized worldwide in the1990s. As a combination of feminist and ecological movements, it is based on the association between the patriarchal society's oppression of women and its domination of the natural world, both of which are the victims of the patriarchal society. The charm of ecofeminist literary criticism lies in enabling people to reflect on the deep-seated ill-thought concerning environment and gender, which results from anthropocentrism and patriarchal-center culture. Re-reading classic literary works from the ecofeminist perspective helps to provide a new approach to exploring environmental issues.John Steinbeck (1902-1968) is a renowned 20th-century American writer and the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. He wrote many works in his writing career of nearly 40 years. However, his reputation mainly rests on the novels and short fiction created in the 1930s, the representatives of which include Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Moreover, he is a master in short fiction. There are two collections of his short fiction: The Pastures of Heaven (1932), and The Long Valley (1938). In The Long Valley, there is a short story"The Chrysanthemums,"which is evaluated as a "masterpiece of Steinbeck's short fiction."This thesis bases its research on close reading of the text and exploration of the writer's life experience as well as his value orientation.In introduction, this thesis briefly introduces the ecofeminist theory adopted in the present research and presents a review of the research concerning"The Chrysanthemums"at home and abroad.The first chapter begins with the author's life experience to seek for explanation of Steinbeck's attitude toward nature and women in his works. One's life experience and world outlook greatly influence his/her creation of works; Steinbeck is of no exception. His eco-awareness and complex attitude to women can be found echoes in"The Chrysanthemums."The second chapter dwells on the analysis of the causes for Elisa's and nature's tragedies from the ecofeminist perspective. It consists of two parts. In the first part, the thesis probes into Elisa's affinity with nature, her feminist sensibility as well as Elisa's and nature's tragedies. The second part focuses on exploring the causes that lead to the tragedies of Elisa and nature. There are two key figures in the process of industrialization—Henry and the tinker, who contribute to Elisa's disillusionment and collapse of spiritual world. Then the thesis further traces the social background of that time. It concludes that the root cause for Elisa's and nature's tragedy is the deep-seated patriarchal dualistic thinking.Finally, the conclusion summarizes the thesis: as a writer with a strong sense of social responsibility and humanitarian thinking, through the creation of the tragic character—Elisa, Steinbeck expresses his deep eco-humanistic concern for nature and women.
Keywords/Search Tags:ecofeminism, Steinbeck, "The Chrysanthemums", Elisa
PDF Full Text Request
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