An Incomplete Woman
“Chrysanthemums”, by John Steinbeck is a short story written in 1938. Steinbeck discovered a new way of writing in “The Chrysanthemums”. He began a new approach by displaying his characters traits by their self-image and actions. Elisa is a prodigy of his new approach. She is involved with various character traits that display her true inner feelings. There are signs of her personal issues throughout the story. Elisa Allen, whom Joseph W. Beach calls, “One of the most delicious characters ever transferred from life to the pages of a book.” “The Chrysanthemums”, depicts the life of a poor, hardworking people. A couple Henry and Elisa Allen live and work on a farm. The husband and wife seem to share uncommon grounds. They are pleased to be able to make a decent living, “but equally important are beginning to sense that not everybody can be satisfied by bread alone”(Lewis). They both have interests of their own. Henry is persisted into caring his livestock, as Elisa remains tendi!
ng her garden of chrysanthemums. The garden is a part of Elisa, it helps her achieve and dominate her strengths. This way she can get others to appreciate her as well. She was content to receive a response from the big, hairy man who worked through, “Pots, pans, knifes, sisors, lawn mowers, Fixed”(Steinbeck 349). Elisa decides to have him work on a few aluminum saucepans. After the comfort of another being complementing her on her garden, she pays the old man and goes to dinner with her husband. Elisa’s actions and feelings throughout the story represent her characteristics of a struggling woman in the 1900’s. She is occupied by loneliness, repressed feminine qualities, and sexism throughout the story.
Elisa’s loneliness is expressed through her relationships with others. Although her marriage seems reasonably happy, they only thrive on complementing each other. Elisa’s husband Henry was proud of selling ...