John Steinbeck의 여성인물 연구

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A Study on John Steinbeck’s Woman Characters

Roh Dae-eun
Advisor: Prof. Choe Han-yong, Ph. D.
Dept. of English Language and Literature
Graduate School of Chosun University

The purpose of this thesis is to study John Steinbeck’s characters especially concerning women. In the 1930’s, the Great Depression hit all across America and most Americans were in great pain and despair. Its cruel economic panic and drought drove the dispossessed west and Steinbeck deals with this disaster, too. So, almost all studies on John Steinbeck are focused on the “American Dream” and socialism. In this thesis, John Steinbeck’s female characters are analyzed.
First of all, chapter Ⅱ of this study deals with John Steinbeck’s female characters and feminism. It is really hard to say that John Steinbeck was a feminist. However feminist theories can be adopted in all of his literary works. So, in this thesis, John Steinbeck’s female characters are divided into four classes. Women in literature can traditionally be classified simply according to good and evil. But John Steinbeck’s female characters are various and need to be departmentalized. The four classes are below: First, woman characters repress their sexual desire in “The Chrysanthemums” and “The White Quail”. Secondly, they are the wise mothers and good wives in The Winter of Our Discontent and The Red Pony. Thirdly, a woman is the citadel of the family in The Grapes of Wrath. Fourthly, woman are depicted as monsters, perhaps the most vituperative villainess in East of Eden and Of Mice and Men.
In chapter Ⅲ, John Steinbeck’s women in his works are analyzed according to the above four classes. In chapter Ⅲ A 1, Elisa in “The Chrysanthemums” is a passionate woman. However she doesn’t receive sexual satisfaction from her husband. In contrast, in chapter Ⅲ A 2, Mary’s love in “The White Quail” is platonic. This shows the repressing of sexual desire and human isolation.
In chapter Ⅲ B 1, Mary in The Winter of Our Discontent is a good wife. Her husband impairs his honesty because of the temptation of wealth. This story starts off from Easter and ends with Independence Day in order to present a corrupt society of America. He is representative of that time, but she always trusts and loves him. Also, In chapter Ⅲ B 2, Mrs. Tiflin is a wise mother and good wife in The Red Pony - “The Gift”, “The Great Mountains”, “The Promise”, and “The Leader of the People”. Throughout all four stories, Carl Tiflin promised to give a pony to Jody Tiflin. And Carl makes him carry out chores in ranch. He treats him just as a child, doesn’t let him talk and always scolds severely. On the other side, Mrs. Tiflin is interested in Jody’s school life and takes care of him. She instructs Jody when he doesn’t know what he has to do.
Chapter Ⅲ C focuses on Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, a strong citadel of the family, eventually comes out of her intense loyalty to her own family and extends her hands to other people. She is the symbol of relief and carries great responsibility. Ma Joad possesses a stronger personality than Pa Joad. She is kind and generous but also has determination and will-power. She understands each members qualities and she provides the appropriate responses to each one. And finally, Ma Joad leads her selfish daughter, Rosasharn, to displays of compassion which had not appeared in her previously. So the wrath is overcome by love.
Furthermore, there are the unusual structures and biblical symbols of The Grapes of Wrath. In the even chapters, the story of The Grapes of Wrath is unfolded, and in the odd chapters, the background of the novel is described. Steinbeck planned to show his readers realities. And the story of The Grapes of Wrath is assimilated into Exodus, also the characters of the Joads are founded upon bible.
In chapter Ⅲ D 1, Cathy-Cate in East of Eden is the most vicious woman. The operative theme of this novel is the concept of “timshel,” God’s injunction to Cain which either commands him to triumph over evil and gives him the choice to do so. However Cathy-Cate is both a terrible mother and duplicitous Eve in one. Also she is both a mother and a whore. Steinbeck shows Cathy as a malevolent mother, one who tries to abort and then abandons her children. She is also a far cry from his usual whore with a heart of gold. The myth that underlies East of Eden is the Cain and Abel story, the archetype for sibling rivalry and fratricide.
In chapter Ⅲ D 2, Curly’s wife in Of Mice and Men is a woman who is full of sexual desire. So, when her husband is not home, she wanders into the ranch pretending to find him. Her face is made up and the little sausage curls are all in place. Curley’s wife makes him stroke her hair. Lennie likes to carry around pet animals and he kills a mouse in his palm while he brings it in his pocket for the purpose of patting as is the case. And Lennie suffocates Curley’s wife while he is suppressing Curley’s wife’s groans.
Steinbeck’s characters have been well studied yet his women remain largely unanalyzed. This study centralizes upon Steinbeck’s female characters. His works show that they are various, distinctive and brimming.
Alternative Title
A Study on John Steinbeck’s Woman Characters
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Roh Dae-eun
일반대학원 영어영문학과
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Ⅰ. 서 론 1

II. 스타인벡과 페미니즘의 배경 7

III. 가부장적 사회에서 여성의 존재방식

A. 성적 억압형
1. “The Chrysanthemums”의 Elisa 14
2. “The White Quail”의 Mary 22

B. 현모양처형
1. The Winter of Our Discontent의 Mary 32
2. The Red Pony의 Tiflin 부인 44

C. 가족의 기둥형
The Grapes of Wrath의 Ma Joad 58

D. 악의 화신
1. East of Eden의 Cathy 78
2. Of Mice and Men의 Curley의 아내 91

Ⅵ. 결 론 98

참 고 문 헌 103
노대은. (2008). John Steinbeck의 여성인물 연구.
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General Graduate School > 4. Theses(Ph.D)
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