Created He Them By Alice Eleanor Jones And The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck: The Hard Work Of A Woman Validated By Men
In the twentieth century, women strived for validation from men. Created He Them by Alice Eleanor Jones and The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck both demonstrate that hard work does not mean validation, and if validation is to mean something it must be from a man. In order for a woman’s talent to be validated, the validation must come from a man. The hard work of a woman, is not always validated by men. If a woman has a talent and works hard at it, and it is not legitimized by a man, she believes it is not a talent.
In The Chrysanthemums Henry wished Elisa would “work out in the orchard and raise [big] apples. ” Due to the fact that Elisa is a woman, without affirmation from a man, her talent cannot be taken outside the household. Even though Elisa wants to help plant apple trees she is not allowed because of her husband’s beliefs. Henry does not believe her talent is a credible reason for having her work with men in the orchard. If Henry had allowed Elisa to work in the orchard she would have felt as though her talent had been validated. Even if Elisa had worked hard to try and receive approval from her husband she may not have received it. No matter how hard a women tries she may not be given the validation she deserves.
In Created He Them, every morning Ann would “calculate to a decibel how loud her voice was. ” She would make sure the children were quiet and everything was cooked to her husband’s liking. Even though her husband, Henry, did not treat her well, his recognition of her efforts was still important in her mind. When Ann tried her best, and tried to meet his standards, it was still not good enough for Henry. Ann made sure to try her very best, because she wanted to receive proof that she is in fact a good housewife and mother. Even if a woman tries her very best, the validation of a man may not be given. In order for a woman to believe she has a talent, it must be validated by a man. Even if a woman is validated by other women, the validation does not have the lasting effect as when it comes from a man. In Created He Them Ann’s ability as a housewife and mother was validated when “the women [began] to come. . . to look at the children. ”
In Ann’s society the children are taken away at the age of three if they are deemed good enough by the government. While in conversation, Ann states that the other seven of her children had been taken by the government. Even though the women are impressed with Ann’s abilities as a mother and housewife, she does not feel validated. She is proud of her children and proud of how the other women see her, but when she is home her feeling of pride is gone. Ann believes that her husband’s view of her is more important than the other women, and because her husband will not validate her ability as a mother and housewife, the validation of the other women is irrelevant. If the validation given to her by the women was given by her husband, Ann would have accepted it. When validation is given by a man it can change a woman’s perspective.
In The Chrysanthemums Elisa was not unhappy doing her work in the garden, but she is not overly excited about her work either. When Elisa met the whitesmith, he talked about how beautiful her flowers are and said he wished she would give some sprouts to him so another woman could grow beautiful chrysanthemums. Immediately upon the whitesmith telling Elisa this “she ran excitedly” to gather what she needed to give him some sprouts. The whitesmith validated Elisa’s ability to garden when he commented her on how beautiful her flowers were. She was then excited to be doing her work because her ability to garden was confirmed by a man. Elisa’s talent as a gardener is legitimized, where as Ann’s ability as a mother and housewife is not, all because Elisa’s validation comes from a man. Therefore her validation holds meaning. It is not hard work and talent alone that authenticate a woman’s worth, it is having their hard work and talent validated by a man that does.
Ann and Elisa are both women who demonstrate hard work and talent. However, the story of Ann illustrates that hard work alone, even when recognized by others, is not enough for a woman to feel validated, Ann needs to hear it from her husband. Elisa’s story while different from Ann’s makes evident the importance women place on receiving validation for their talent from men. It is through the stories of Elisa and Ann that we see the idea that a women is only validated through a man, and that the lack of validation reduces the worth a woman feels.
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