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John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums” is about a proud, strong woman named Elisa Allen who feels frustrated with her present life. Her frustration. Complete summary of John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Chrysanthemums. The Chrysanthemums study guide contains a biography of John Steinbeck, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a.

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He climbed stiffly down, over the wheel. It was full of hot water from the noonday cooking.

“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck

Elisa came through the gate to watch him while he pounded out the dents in the kettles. This was a short, sweet story that had a nice overall atmosphere but with a thought-evoking lesson to be gained. He looked around at her. I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to look at new things on your website. Then she must set them out, about a foot apart in good rich earth like this, see?

Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water. Johnn later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology. This page was last edited on 9 Aprilat She got a little too excited and became desperate for Tinker.

Elisa saw that he was a very big man. The meeting with the tinker renews Elisa’s feelings of femininity and sexuality as jphn woman. And she returned carrying a big red flower pot. She relaxed limply in the seat. So here is Elisa, still young and attractive, apparently childless, living in a farm successfully chrysantheumm by her husband, with her fenced flower garden where she grows chrysanthemums among other flowers and that is all she does, tend her flower garden and be a wife to her husband and look after the house.


She took off a glove and put her cheysanthemum fingers down into the forest of new green chrysanthemum sprouts that were growing around the old roots. Her use of blatantly sexual language and position to a mere stranger stresses the vulnerability of Elisa, who is desperate to find her equal.

It somehow shows us the reader how much pain can be cause with steibbeck little. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years.

She prepares for her night out with her husband. The chrysanthemums symbolize her sexuality, and she “[tears] off the battered hat and [shakes] out her dark pretty hair” There is a distinct lack of harmony between them, which causes Elisa to become discontented with Henry.

The bulk of this short story is tied up in her visit from the tinkerer, who needs her help far more than she needs his.

Those who are invisible have no feelings, no needs, no rights. Elisa feels that Henry doesn’t recognize or appreciate her femininity, and this feeling causes her to be antagonistic towards him. Both her feminine side and masculine side have been turned down by the male characters in the text, starkly bringing light to Elisa’s destroyed hopes, which is symbolized by the abandoned chrysanthemums.

An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck’s imagination as a child. Elisa straightened her back and pulled on the gardening glove again. When the tinker notices the flowers, Elisa changes into a happier person because she felt wanted. Her devastation at this realization is complete and leaves her “crying weakly-like an old woman” Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer.


She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness.

The fact that she takes care of flowers demonstrates that she is a very emotional person, since flowers are commonly related to feelings. He claims this customer has asked him to bring her some chrysanthemum seeds if he ever finds some in his travels, leading to the captivation of Elisa.

“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck | Literary Fictions

Chdysanthemum femininity and sexuality are never going to be fully appreciated nor understood by Henry. He travels from San Diego to Seattle and back every year. The mongrel dog took his place between the back wheels. The way they behave, act and dress give us and idea of how they truly are.

The Chrysanthemums

When Elisa’s husband compliments her on her flowers, she is proud, and “on her face there [is] bby little smugness” There is also the symbolism about confinement. Filled with metaphors and symbolism, “The Chrysanthemums” is an overwhelmingly realistic portrayal of a woman’s struggles in a patriarchal world where intelligent women are sadly overlooked. Elisa, squatting on the ground, watched to see the crazy, loose-jointed wagon pass by.

Kneeling on the ground in front of the tinker, Elisa is in a sexually submissive position, chrysanthemjm underlines to readers the alienation and loneliness she suffers.