Chrysanthemums

Length: 4 Pages 1060 Words

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 Continue...


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After the comfort of another being complementing her on her garden, she pays the old man and goes to dinner with her husband. There is one catch she has no children. AS her masculine state is tomboyish, she still preserves her lady like characteristics. As soon as he mentions her precious chrysanthemums she is open for discussion. She wears "a mans black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod hopper, shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron...(Steinbeck 347). Elisa decides to have him work on a few aluminum saucepans. The big, bearded, and graying man achieved a dramatic response from her. After struggling with her emotions and repressive feelings she brings it to a halt by accepting her fate. It is sensed that they were not allowed to act, as they wanted; however, what they were told to do so. Unfortunately Elisa's situation revolves around that issue with her husband Henry. She is excited to go and would much rather see a movie then go see the fights; she "wouldn't like the fights at all(349). Her struggle for strength and happiness that doesn't meet her expectations is expressed through those characteristics. Although she shows feminine characteristics they tend to be prevailed by her outer masculine shell at times. She states "What do you mean by nice(350). Henry claims "Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across.

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