Preview
Preview

Essay on Elisa's Unfulfilled Desire in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1249 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Elisa's Unfulfilled Desire in Chrysanthemums


The "Chrysanthemums" was written by John Steinbeck and introduced in 1937. In this story it is evident that Elisa has suppressed sexual desires that are awakened. At the ripe age of thirty-five, Elisa is at her sexual peak, but because of being betrayed by men, she is unable to fulfill those desires.

Elisa Allen is a strong woman. She is strong because of her manly qualities. Her masculinity shines through because of the way she covers up herself. There was a feminine part of her wanting to emerge as she wore the "print dress" (279) while working in her flower garden. However, the men's clothing and accessories she wore covered this up. The "squatting" (281) position she engaged in to work in her garden was not the feminine kneeling that a true lady would have chosen. She "shoved the thick scissors in her apron pocket" (282), which was not the delicate way a woman would have done it. She was not able to cultivate her chrysanthemums in a way that was gentle and loving because of her masculine traits. She was not squeamish when it came to protecting her flowers. She would simply use her "fingers" (280) to eliminate any type of pest that was a threat to them. A true woman would have gagged at the very thought of using her bare hands to mash a bug. Elisa was a hard and successful laborer because her chrysanthemums "had ten-inch blooms" (283); however, she still had not succeeded in child bearing.

Elisa and her husband had no children; therefore, she had no one to give her love and attention. As a result, she channeled all her attention and nurturing into her beloved chrysanthemums. Like a mother making sure her child had a nurturing environment, Elisa, "[w]ith her trowel she t...


... middle of paper ...


...a wanted was to receive the kind of love and attention that she put into her chrysanthemums. She was a hard worker and a good woman; although, this did not compare to the fact that she wanted to be a desirable woman. Her brief experience of feeling sexually aroused made her feel pretty and desirable. After she realized that she had been used by the tinker, the emotion that was stirred within her went silently and tearfully away. The devastation she was experiencing will no doubt cause her to become more masculine and even less desirable to her husband. Resulting in the fact that she will never reach the ecstasy of her desires, and she will never know the joy of having a child to give all of her love and attention to.

Works Cited:

Steinbeck, John. “Chrysanthemums.” Forty Short Stories: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Beverly Lawn. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2001.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
John Steinbeck’s Short Story, The Chrysanthemums Essay - Chrysanthemums She was wearing “a man’s black hat…clod-hopper shoes, heavy leather gloves” and “a big corduroy apron” doing her best to cover up her femininity. In John Steinbeck’s short story, “The Chrysanthemums”, we are introduced to Elisa Allen. Elisa is living during a period after the Great Depression when women’s rights issues were becoming a topic of public concern. Steinbeck uses the character Elisa Allen to portray the women’s struggle for equality. She is a woman deprived of social, personal and sexual fulfillment in a male-dominated world....   [tags: Chrysanthemums John Steinbeck] 1133 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums Essay - John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” hosts a warm yet somber account of a woman’s hunger to find fulfillment and vitality in her mundane life and stagnant marriage. Steinbeck presents the turmoil stirring inside the main character, Elisa Allen, by mirroring the lackluster qualities in the surrounding landscape. Taking place in the early-twentieth century, it is clear to the reader that the marital discontentment of a woman in this era was an issue of shame and secrecy; therefore, the author chose to allude to Elisa’s restlessness with inferences and vague dialogue to portray her from an unbiased and truthful viewpoint to invoke compassion and solicitousness from the reader....   [tags: Literature] 1024 words
(2.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Yellow Wallpaper and The Chrysanthemums - Restraints are set by parents on their children to aid with the developmental process and help with the maturity level. Restrictions and the ability to control exist in our society and our lives. We encounter restraints daily: job, doors, people, and the most frequently used and arduous become intangible. In the following stories tangible and intangible scenarios are presented. Autonomy, desires, and talents spurned by the husbands in John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums and Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The authors share views regarding a similar theme of male domination and imprisonment....   [tags: Comparative, Allen, Steinbeck] 1015 words
(2.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Feminism in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums Essay - Feminism in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums   At first glance John Steinbeck’s "The Chrysanthemums" seems to be a story about a woman whose niche is in the garden. Upon deeper inspection the story has strong notes of feminism in the central character Elisa Allen.  Elisa’s actions and feelings reflect her struggle as a woman trying and failing to emasculate herself in a male dominated society. Elisa is at her strongest and most proud in the garden and becomes weak when placed in feminine positions such as going out to dinner with her husband....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
:: 1 Works Cited
824 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
“The Chrysanthemums”: An Early Depiction of Gender’s Role Essay - The traditional role of women in the American society has transformed as society has trended towards sexual equality. In the past women were expected to be submissive to the man and were looked upon as homemakers rather then providers. Modern day women enjoy the freedom of individuality and are considered as capable as men in many regards. John Steinbeck’s short story, “The Chrysanthemums,” portrays a woman’s struggle with accepting her life and role as a female (459). Through the protagonist-female character, Elisa Allen, and the symbolism of chrysanthemums, Steinbeck displays the gender roles that define past generations of women’s lives in the United States....   [tags: Literary Analysis, John Steinbeck] 787 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Steinbeck's Red Chrysanthemums East of Eden's Grapes Essay - Every great writer creates powerful images and presents story lines that draw their readers deep into the pages of their books, however; any writer would be hard pressed to do so without incorporating their own feelings, trials and tribulations into the plots and John Steinbeck is no exception. Through his appreciation for adventure and willingness to indulge in it, Steinbeck found a myriad of fascinating people in addition to experiences that he was eager to share. Past various negative criticisms and frequent rejections of his work, he manages to provide relatable characters capable of deep connections to those who enter into the realms of his tales....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]
:: 1 Works Cited
1847 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
The Chrysanthemums Essay - Most women have a sense of freedom and independence from their male counterparts, but they will not reach out away from their sheltered lives with a male to a new challenge or a new life. Women whom breakout of the their molds made by their significant other take a chance with life and try to become the independent woman others dream about at night. On the Allen’s farm, chrysanthemums flourish, but does Elisa Allen flourish with them. With tender care, the flowers grow heartily and healthily, though the one who tends them is not so satisfied with her rooting in life....   [tags: essays research papers] 696 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay Roman Fever and John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums - "Roman Fever" and "The Chrysanthemums"  - A Comparison         The two short stories have different characters, plot and setting and yet they have a common ground in which human beings are deeply involved.  In short, the setting of each work powerfully suggests a rather calm, dull and peaceful mood at a superficial level; however, the main characters are struggling from the uncontrollable passions and exploding desire at heart.  First of all, in "The Chrysanthemums" the Salinas Valley is depicted as somewhat dull, like "a closed pot."  In addition, its geographical setting represents an isolated atmosphere, and, furthermore, Elisa's actions of handling  chrysanthemums can be translated i...   [tags: compare, contrast] 316 words
(0.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Comparing Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman and The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck - Comparing Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman and The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck Talents and dreams, hopes and desires, shunned by the husbands and times of the women in The Chrysanthemums and The Yellow Wallpaper. The wife, Elisa, in the Chrysanthemums, reflects an internal struggle to find her place in a world of definite gender roles. The Yellow Wallpaper traces the treatment of a woman who descends from depression to madness in the male-imposed psychiatric confinement of her room....   [tags: Compare Contrast Women Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
802 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Epiphany of Elisa in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums Essay - Epiphany of Elisa in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums John Steinbeck described Elisa Allen in "The Chrysanthemums" only with her language and actions. From these, the reader gathers that Elisa is strong, lean, and eager; the way she talks confidently about her chrysanthemums not only shows her confidence, but her way of filling the void of intimacy in her marriage. However, by the end of the story, the reader finds Elisa completely different, signifying the toll her epiphany has had on her....   [tags: Literature Steinbeck Chrysanthemums Essays] 378 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]