Characters in Conflict

4 April 2015
An review of “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck and “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy with an emphasis on characters in conflict.

This paper looks at two short stories: “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck and “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy and compares the different themes of conflict within the two stories. John Steinbeck explores conflict in terms of gender differences and Tolstoy through a human heart in conflict with itself even after death.
“The key element in Elisa’s world is her bed of chrysanthemums, representing her strength, that which she does best and about which she is the most proud. She reacts with pride when her husband refers to her flowers. When she describes her flowers, she describes them as strong. The strength of the flowers represents her own inner strength. These images of strength and power contrast with the way the reader usually thinks of flowers and gardening, and indeed with the way society usually views women as weaker than men. ”

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