Allegory In The Chrysanthemums, By John Steinbeck

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“The Chrysanthemums”, by John Steinbeck, is an allegory of an intelligent married woman, whose marriage is functional but passionless. An allegory is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. The hidden meaning within this story is Elisa’s frustration with her present life. While her husband is preoccupied with work, she is taking care of the chrysanthemums within her garden. In other words, she is performing the duties of an “at home wife”, while falling in her childless void. Not only does she take care of the chrysanthemums as if they were her own children, she nurtures and fosters them with her life. The chrysanthemums are acknowledged throughout the story as a symbol of Elisa’s life and happiness. In the story, the chrysanthemums functions as Elisa’s children. The author states, “She took off a glove and put her strong fingers down into the forest of new green chrysanthemums sprouts…show more content…
Her husband, Henry, has the ranch to give him a sense of accomplishment; however, Elisa only has her chrysanthemums. This is why towards the end of the story the author states, “She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot, she explained. He had to keep the pot. That’s why he couldn’t get them off the road.” This shows that the only thing Elisa valued and cherished, was just thrown to the side like it was nothing. Because of this, Elisa starts questioning herself as a woman and even going as far as asking her husband questions that she already knew the answers to. In the story she asks her husband, “Henry, at those prize fights, do the men hurt each other very much?” Just to get the image out of her head of what she
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