The Chrysanthemums


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In Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" Elisa, poster woman for the feminist movement is a victim of her environment by disconnected. Working attempts to change and coming to realization that she will remain oppressed. Elisa opens her door of acceptance to Tinkerman. She yearns for someone to understand her quest for adventure. Buried in the third world of individualism, behind her fenced flowers, she longs for escape. Despite her efforts, she looks forward to the recognition of her circumstance and imprisonment.
     Elisa Allen is a lonely woman who enjoys growing and nourishing her chrysanthemums. Since her husband is always working by the fence, he never gives Elisa due attention and affection. Knowing that she can never intervene her husband¡¦s work ¡§Elisa watched them for a moment and then went back to her work.¡¨ Her husband says: ¡§I wish you¡¦d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big.¡¨ Letting alone his lack of interest for her chrysanthemums, he does not even care about her. Elisa is vex and anger by her husband¡¦s lack of care, and she decides to take care of her chrysanthemums-symbol of how beautiful she really is. Despite her effort, she realizes that she is gradually detached from the world outside the garden. Her gardening area is a ¡§cage¡¨ that protects her from potential harms. Everything changes, however, when the tinkerman arrive. Seeing that the tinker shows interest in the Chrysanthemums, Elisa, although hesitant at first, ¡§melted¡¨ the irritation from her face and begins to reach out towards the outside world.
Knowing that the flowers and Elisa have interchangeable meanings, the tinkerman shows interest in her chrysanthemums, which reflects to Elisa directly, in order to persuade her to find something for him to fix. He says ¡§oh beautiful,¡¨ with this, she now feels appreciate and attractive to this stranger. His compliment to her about her flowers leads her to feel obligate to allow him to enter her world. The tinkerman asks Elisa to help another lady, Elisa feels strong and ¡§tight with eagerness.¡¨ After giving the instructions, Elisa feels proud and good. After hearing the tinkerman¡¦s description of his profession, Elisa wishes to explore more with him, ¡§it must be very nice. I wish women could do such things." The disappointment for Elisa follows her wishes, the tinkerman says ¡§it ain¡¦t the right kind of a life for a woman.¡¨ The time has come, Elisa must let the tinkerman go on to his own adventure, but in their exchange, Elisa gain confidence and realize how beautiful she can be.

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Right after the tinkerman leaves, she is full of confidence in her womanhood and goes to do a complete makeover. ¡§She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness.¡¨ In this scene in which she transforms from gardener to a model, she goes through a revelation of thoughts. Her excitement from the tinkerman¡¦s interest in her chrysanthemums gives her the confidence to grow and blossom like her lovely flowers. When Henry got home and saw her, he says: ¡§Why -- why, Elisa. You look so nice!¡¨ With her boost of confidence now, she asks Henry to define ¡§nice.¡¨ Elisa obviously goes on the offense and wonders why she just looks ¡§nice.¡¨ Henry soon blunders and state that Elisa is ¡§strong and happy¡¨, Elisa, feeling insanely happy, chases after and asks Henry, again, to define ¡§strong¡¨. At the end however, ¡§She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly--like an old woman.¡¨
     Elisa although give her best shot after getting an inspiration from the tinkerman realizes that she only belongs in her ¡§cage.¡¨ Her awakening age is full of confidence, at the end however; she looses her courage and becomes an ¡§old woman¡¨. Seems like Elsa has to be in this garden jail forever, she cries weakly that she knows she has to be in the prison forever.


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