What would Elisa ("The Chrysanthemums") and Missie May ("The Gilded Six-Bits") talk about if they met?
I just need a jump start. Thanks.
"The Chrysanthemums" & "The Gilded Six-Bits" are the two stories.
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In order to imagine what these two women would find to talk about, it is important to understand how they are similar and how they are different.
Both Eliza and Missy May have good husbands. Both women are comfortable, though not especially rich. Both women have dreams of having something else to enrich their lives—Eliza wishes she had the independence of a man, and Missy May wishes she had more money because Joe, her husband, seems so concerned about Slemmons' wealth. To find that which they feel is missing, they turn to other men.
The women are different in that they want different things: Eliza wants freedom, and Missy May wishes for money.
Eliza turns to the peddler for a glimpse of life beyond what she has, and a sense who she is. She does not become involved with the peddler, but sees her life differently for having met him.
Missy May fools around with Slemmons, not because she is attracted to him, but because he has promised her money.
The women's lives change when the peddler throws the flowers along the road and Eliza realizes she has been manipulated and used. This crushes her budding sense of value in self, but she hides her pain from her husband. Things change dramatically when Joe discovers Missy May with Slemmons. Their relationship all but crumbles because the love they had, built on trust, has been badly damaged.
Both women try to deal with their "altered states." We get the sense that Eliza knows she must depend on herself for a sense of positive self-esteem, while Missy May, sure that Joe will leave her, struggles to behave normally after Joe discovers her infidelity; and although the playful trust between them is gone, over time, it seems that they may be able to salvage something.
In terms of what these women could talk about, I would suggest they could speak of the good husbands they have who work hard to support them and offer support when their wife needs it.
They could talk about how some people value money above all things, and that financial gain can make people do some unusual things.
The women can certainly talk about how appearances can be deceiving: in that the peddler pretends to be interested in the flowers in order to get some work (and money from Eliza), and how Slemmons presents himself as a rich and successful man, when in reality, the clothes and money are nothing but a sham on his part.
Looking beneath the surface, the women have some strong similarities that could fuel a rewarding discussion between the two.
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