In John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums,” the main theme is suppression of a woman’s pride. Throughout the story, Elisa Allen is a housewife who takes care of her precious garden. She’s a very skilled gardener (who is also a housewife) and raises especially big and healthy chrysanthemums. Steinbeck gives many examples of her pride throughout the story, as well as the suppression she faced at that particular time period. The story was written in 1938, which was not long after The Great Depression in America. As the story progresses, Elisa shows her pride through the works of her garden.
The first line in the story sets the tone for the theme. The setting is a “high-grey flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world” (213). This makes the reader feel gloomy inside, as if they’re just waiting for the sunshine to burst through the clouds. These conditions compliment the theme of suppression, because it is as if all peo
6 In the end, Elisa"tms pride becomes injured but not broken. If someone is ever proud of something and they tell it to a stranger, then they are especially proud of whatever it is they"tmre describing. Then, the story reads, "I wish you"tmd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. Let"tms explore part of the conversation she has with the man on the wagon. This conversation supports my theme of suppressed pride. " 5 Elisa feels comfortable in her garden, because her pride is kept there and that"tms where she feels strong. I could show you what a woman might do" (218). He expressed to her that she had a strong new crop and that she was gifted. ple in Salinas Valley - specifically Elisa Allen, are deprived of feeling good weather and the warm sun. She clearly stated to him that she had the necessary skills to perform the job. After Elisa had been gardening for a bit, her husband comes and talks to her. She responded by telling him that it was a "good bitter smell.