The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck Essay

The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck Essay

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In John Steinbeck 's “The Chrysanthemums” an American short story, is presumed to be his most known work. A lonely woman in a garden is visited by a handsome drifter. She explains her flowers as an allegory to her life. Steinbeck’s uses strong characters, symbolism of the Chrysanthemums and the blooming life of women, her sexual desires, in a man’s withering power during the Great depression to produce a central idea. The central idea revolves around freedom to escape from the norm.
The protagonist and dynamic character is Elisa Allen. “She was thirty-five. Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water” (Steinbeck 1061).She’s wearing a “figured print dress “almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets” (Steinbeck 1061). “The fact that she both dresses and addresses her work in her garden in a mannish fashion” (Ditsky). Her character goes through the most changing. As a married woman to almost having an affair with the tinker man. She even states it herself “I’m strong,” she boasted. I never knew before how strong” (Steinbeck 1067). She is strong until she sees her bulbs on the side of the road which cause her to cry “like an old woman” (Steinbeck 1068) Her husband, Henry Allen, seems nice and loving rancher, after selling the steers he wants to take Elisa to “town about five and have dinner at the Cominos Hotel and maybe to a picture show” (Steinbeck 1062). The antagonist the tinker man is described as a “very big man; his hair and beard were graying he did not look old. He has very calloused hands, “cracked and every crack was a black line” (Steinbeck 1063). He “mends pots and sharpen knives and scissors” (Steinbeck 1064) He’s just looking for work during the Great Depression a...


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...tone in The Chrysanthemums, by John Steinbeck is a sense of envy toward men. “In her tone and on her face was a little smugness” (Steinbeck 1062). I wish women could do such things” (Steinbeck 1066). She told the tinker all about how to take care of the flower and he just threw it out. Also a very wistful feeling of the story. Elisa longs for a different life or more exciting one. She says to the tinker about how he travels, “that seems like a nice kind of way to live” (Steinbeck 1064).
Many say Steinbeck’s character Elisa is feminist for the time period. The story has many sexual innuendoes between the tinker and Elisa. One cannot think of other acts that may have been committed but are omitted from Elisa’s head. The tinker represents the romantic freedom Elisa desires. Elisa is the personification of the Chrysanthemums, beautiful, taken care of, and in bloom.

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