symbolism in the crysanthemums

Length: 3 Pages 858 Words

A good writer has many tools at hand that help them develop good story lines. There are literary techniques such as voice, point of view, character, theme, and symbolism. One very interesting technique is that of symbolism. With symbolism the author is able to write a story in which many of the actions around the main character seem to enhance the way the character develops. The use of symbolism to develop the characters is easy to see in the short story "the chrysanthemums" by John Steinback. In this story Steinback writes of a woman who lives on a farm; but the woman feels trapped, and wishes that she could free herself. The author uses both the time of year and the location to develop a setting that compliments the feelings of the main character. The story starts off saying, "The high Gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from the rest of the world."(Steinback 267)from the first sentence the author is developing a setting that compliments the character. At this point in time of the story nothing is known about the Elisa Allen, but this quote about how the Salinas valley is closed off from the world is a symbol of the struggle that Elisa is soon to face. The second sentence of th Continue...

In the second paragraph the author develops the character even more by writing, "it was a time of quiet and waiting. After this bath she had the courage to ask henry if they could have wine at the dinner tonight, and that they may possibly go to the fights together. All these symbols work together to show Elisa Allen's character. The quiet waiting symbolizes how Elisa is silently waiting for something to happen. Throughout the story Steinback drops many symbols that pertain to Elisa's character. "(Steinback 273) After this bath of hers she became more beautiful to her husband. It is not until the end of the story that all of these symbols take on full meaning. Setback uses time in this story to compliment the location. When she, "scrubbed herself with a little block of pumice. "(Steinback 267) The symbol of a closed pot works in conjunction with the first sentence to give an idea to the extent of how hard it would be to escape the pressure of the isolation that Elisa is feeling. Location is not the only symbol that Stinback uses in this story to symbolize Elisa Allen's character.