Date Night - Katie Davidson Professor Nolan HE112V 4...

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Katie Davidson Professor Nolan HE112V 4 October 2009 Date Night Oppression may be too strong a word for the ways in which life subdues Elisa in John Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums,” but clearly, her life limits and frustrates her. Though her chrysanthemums validate her work and worth as a woman, Elisa needs to break free from the bonds of the life that constrain her. What female Midshipman has not had the same thought? What girl among us has not dreamed of shedding her uniform, donning a pair of designer jeans and t-shirt, and running as far away from the Yard as possible? A female at the Naval Academy has to balance the typical male soldier role and her role as a woman. The social confinements established within the Yard, however, make it difficult to strike that balance. Just as large overalls and callused hands confine Elisa, the drab and severe haircuts, better suited to our male counterparts, hide our femininity. My experience with the Academy’s social tradition called King Hall Date Night mirrors Elisa’s resignation to her life in John Steinbeck’s story. That Sunday began as any other “fine Navy day.” A friend of a friend had secured me a date for the ritual. Just as Elisa began her preparations for her night out with Henry, I “tore off [my] soiled clothes and flung them in the corner, and [lay out] my newest underclothing and [the uniform] that was the symbol of [my] prettiness” (Steinbeck 237). His name was
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Date Night - Katie Davidson Professor Nolan HE112V 4...

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