The Chrysanthemums

1665 Words7 Pages
John Steinbeck’s, The Chrysanthemums, was published in 1938 in a book of short stories, entitled The Long Valley. The Chrysanthemums has been a rather powerful draw for scholars because of its wide gap for interpretations and analysis of its main protagonist character, Elisa Allen and also the unique descriptions used to portray the deeper meaning behind the setting of the story. Themes of sexuality, oppression of women, as well as other numerous types of conflict portrayed in this rather somber short story have made it a popular study among scholars and students alike. Steinbeck also uses literary elements including a dramatic tone, rich symbolism, and personification which increase the stories feeling and value exponentially. Steinbeck was critically acclaimed for his portrayal of the “common man” through his ability to illustrate in a “realistic style rich with symbolism,” the essence of life in the 1930’s (Price, Victoria).

The setting of the story is unique because it has a direct connection with the author; Salinas California is Steinbeck’s birthplace (Millichap, Joseph R). Herein lays the stories first embodiment of dramatic tone as well as the description of the characters; which sets the stage for symbolism, personification, and dramatic tone for the rest of the story. The description of the setting is unique and important because of its symbolic representations of the conflict between the characters and also the interpersonal conflict of Elisa. The story opens with a panoramic view of the Salinas Valley, in winter, shrouded in fog. The Valley which is being, “closed off” from the rest of the world, is a symbolic representation for the way Elisa feels about her life. However, the weather in the valley is awaiting change...

... middle of paper ...

...ysanthemums. All of these literary elements help mold the story and represent the common man” through Steinbeck’s ability to portray in a “realistic style rich with symbolism,” the essence of life in the 1930’s (Price, Victoria).

Works Cited

Ditsky, John. "A Kind of Play: Dramatic Elements in Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums'."

Wascana Review 21.1 (Spring 1986): 62-72. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Anja Barnard and Anna Sheets-Nesbitt. Vol. 37. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Dec. 2011.

Millichap, Joseph R. "Biography of John Steinbeck." Critical Insights: The Grapes of Wrath. Ed.

Keith Newlin. 1 vols. Salem Press, 2010. Salem Literature Web. 11 Dec. 2011

Price, Victoria. "The Chrysanthemums." Masterplots. Fourth Edition. Ed. Laurence W.

Mazzeno, 4th ed. Salem Press, 2010. Salem Literature Web. 06 Dec. 2011.

More about The Chrysanthemums

Open Document