Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Life, Family, Women, Death, Development, Connection, Relationships, Wife

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/10/20

Human connection is an important element for a happy and prosperous life. While some individuals live in isolation and lose the human connection, others ignore their near ones and live in isolation. Elisa Allen and Ivan Ilyich are two such characters, which fail to live their lives in the best possible way. Elisa Allen is the protagonist of “The Chrysanthemums,” a story that explores the effects of isolation and frustration of a rural farm wife whose life leaves her unsatisfied. Elisa feels frustrated due to her gender role, which prevents her from seeing the world beyond the home that she desires to leave . She feels unhappy as the only outlet for her prodigious creative energy and talent is the garden on which she grows a grotesque size of chrysanthemums. Elisa finds in her domestic responsibilities an insufficient outlet for her creative drive. She faces disappointment from her distant relationship with her husband. She mistakes the interest of a passing tinker for a true connection. The way the author describes the work, life and clothing of Elisa Allen, show the impact of her feeling of frustration and ultimate disappointment .
In her life, Elisa cannot communicate with her husband, whose voice she starts at. She longs for the tinker’s free lifestyle and the open road. In clothing, Elisa’s individuality hides by her boots and huge apron. Her identity hides by her hat, which she pulls low over her face. Elisa hopes for change and human connection in her life and work through tinker’s visit. Tinker’s visit inspires Elisa’s desire to preserve some of the change she sensed while they were talking, which is evident from Elisa’s suggestion that the both would meet again in a professional capacity . Elisa decides to follow the tinker, which is evident as Elisa watches the direction headed by the tinker. On this occasion, she says “There’s a glowing there” . Tinker’s visit also inspires a symbolically rich toilette and dressing in Elisa. Elisa believes in bath as a marker of transition, purification and baptism . She also scrubs her body with pumice and appraises her body in the mirror. The author describes how Elisa’s hope for change turns out into a disappointment. The communication between Elisa and tinker becomes strained and transforms into an anti-erotic diction. Tinker throws Elisa’s gift of chrysanthemums on the road, which symbolizes that the tinker is no more interested in Elisa .
Elisa fails to bring herself look in the tinker’s way and her clothing symbolizes her isolation. She cries hidden in the collar of her coat. The reader’s can realize Elisa’s psychological struggles from her thoughts, actions and even clothing. Though she dresses as a vital woman, she weeps like an old woman. In the conclusion, author Steinbeck presents isolation and frustration as destructive to characters, especially the protagonist Elisa. Elisa’s growing sense of hope, vitality and connection thwarts by her disappointment in the tinker’s callously disposing of the chrysanthemums that she gave to him. The flowers represent her creativity and her sense of self-worth. In the tinker’s throwing the flowers away, Elisa realizes that his interest in the flowers and her was just an artifice to get work and nothing more. Disappointed that she cannot break out of her rut despite her desire to change her life, Elisa’s sadness at the end of the story indicates the readers that even when we try hard, we cannot always change our lives . Elisa Allen’s gender role, identity, desire and imagination of life are the central theme of the story, which convey the readers about the importance of human connections.
Ivan Ilych Golovin, the protagonist of the novel “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” is an important character who spends his entire life unhappy and petty. Dying is the only worthwhile thing done by Ivan. He lives the simplest and most ordinary life, which makes him terrible. It is only a few moments before his death that he realizes the shallowness and wishes to live better wherein he experiences genuine happiness . Ivan studies law and becomes a professional. He is both career-oriented as well as maintains a lightheartedness, which makes his life smooth and simple. His disposition is moderate unlike his two brothers. Ivan marries a simple woman, Praskovya Fedorovna and earns a good career by working with the governor and as a magistrate . He considers marriage as a mere convenience and fails to build a true relationship with his wife. Ivan Ilyich realizes that marriage is a troublesome event when his wife bears children.
Ivan lives his life revolving around the belief of convention. He fulfills his duties with ease and competence in the office but fails to keep up the same in his personal life. The readers realize that it is not only important to focus on the official matters, but also in the household deeds in order to live a complete life. Ivan tries his best to avoid unpleasantness in his family and hence maintains a superficial relationship with his family members. On one occasion, when Ivan slips and falls down while lining up the curtains in the new house, the accident causes physical deterioration in Ivan’s health and causes inevitable death . He repents for his failure to understand the real meaning of life and craves to live in a better way though he spent his entire life living simple and ordinary. Ivan is the model of a middle-class man who is materialistic and enjoys buying things to impress others. He does a classic job and receives a satisfactory salary with which he is able to fulfill his needs as well as the needs of his family . In spite of owning everything in life similar to that of a modern middle-class man, Ivan feels petty.
Ivan craves for recognition among his group of friends and always wants to look important and special in the eyes of others. He possesses a sense of propriety. He cares about the feeling of others and finds them appropriate. He senses marriage as an awful event and as a mere incident of convenience. Ivan always strives to enjoy his life all alone. He considers his wife and children as unpleasant beings. He divides his pleasures into three categories, namely social life, work and bridge . When Ivan falls sick, he repents for he is not able to enjoy his pleasant life. He gets disappointed by his discomfort and fears about death. He lives in the memories of his pleasant times of life and realizes that the entire life, which he cared for himself makes no sense. After understanding that the life, which is devoid of joy is no worth living, Ivan decides that he can neither live a painful life nor dare to die . Finally, he wishes to come out of the situation and live like before.
Ivan finds himself all alone as his wife and children find him unpleasant to be around in the same way Ivan treated them all throughout his life. All of a sudden, Ivan starts thinking about God and but never asks for an answer as to why he is facing punishment. It is only at the end that Ivan realizes the worse situation he is going through is a result of his ignorance towards others, especially his wife and family. Thus, the characters Elise Allen of “The Chrysanthemums” and Ivan Ilych Golovin, the protagonist of “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” send a message to the readers. While the former character makes the readers realize the importance of human connection for a happy life, the latter defines that the meaning of a true and happy life doesn’t lie in enjoying oneself but fulfilling the needs of the family too. Elise is unhappy and frustrated for her isolation and gender identity, while Ivan is unhappy when everyone is around him. While Ivan hopes to live better as he approaches death, Elise craves for a change in her life after she encounters a stranger, the tinker. The characters convey the meaning as to how to live a satisfied life and overcome disappointments.


Steinbeck, John. The Chrysanthemums. Perfection Learning Corporation, 2007.
Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

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WePapers. (2020, October, 20) Destiny Of Life Essay Sample. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destiny-of-life-essay-sample/
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"Destiny Of Life Essay Sample." WePapers, Oct 20, 2020. Accessed May 30, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destiny-of-life-essay-sample/
WePapers. 2020. "Destiny Of Life Essay Sample." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved May 30, 2023. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destiny-of-life-essay-sample/).
"Destiny Of Life Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 20-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destiny-of-life-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 30-May-2023].
Destiny Of Life Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destiny-of-life-essay-sample/. Published Oct 20, 2020. Accessed May 30, 2023.

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