In literature, writers utilize symbolism as an artistic element in their writing. John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums” is about a woman named Elisa Allen who feels dissatisfied with her way of life. Elisa’s frustrations proceeds from her marriage and her sole escape from her frustrations is her garden where she grows chrysanthemums. Steinbeck uses chrysanthemums to symbolize Elisa’s struggles to identify herself and her challenging circumstances. Although children are not mentioned in Steinbeck’s short story, “The Chrysanthemum”, the flowers symbolize Elisa’s children or lack thereof. Elisa cares and attend to her chrysanthemum garden as she would for her own children. In order to keep her chrysanthemum garden safe, Elisa has a “wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens” (Steinbeck, 750). Like a mother, Elisa protects her flowers by placing a wire fence around them to ensure that “no aphids were there, no sow bugs or snails or cutworms. Her terrier fingers destroyed such pests before they could get started” (Steinbeck, 750). It is evident through the text that Elisa safeguards her chrysanthemum garden to her utmost. As a good mother would, Elisa exterminated any pests that could cause harm to her …show more content…
Elisa’s ability to attend to her chrysanthemum garden as if they were her children symbolizes Elisa’s femininity. However, Elisa’s husband, Henry Allen, fails to acknowledge Elisa’s femininity, which strains their relationship. Upon seeing Elisa’s chrysanthemum garden, Henry states, “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big” (Steinbeck, 750). Instead of praising Elisa’s beautiful chrysanthemums, Henry believes Elisa’s talents would be better suited for fieldwork. Although the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa’s femininity, Henry blatantly disregards Elisa’s beauty and talents and therefore her
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
In John Steinbacks “The Chrysanthemums,” the shift of the setting from the ranch to the road plays an important role in the development of the main character, Elisa. Therefore, in the first setting, Elisa is in her garden attending to her the chrysanthemums, which she loves and cares for. Immediately, we’re placed in a rural setting, where women happen to live in isolation and man is manly. Elisa sneaks quick glances towards the men by the tractor shed, who is talking to her husband, waiting for them to leave, so she can throw aside her gloves and work her fingers into the soil of the garden. However, Elisa shows her fearless side by quickly digging in the garden, with her eagerness to grow her chrysanthemums, right after the men leave.
John Steinbeck short stories, The Chrysanthemums and The Turtle, (Chapter three - grapes of wrath) both clearly demonstrate the theme of isolation throughout the story. “The Chrysanthemums” tells of isolation that Elisa Allen, and on a larger scale, women in general, struggle through. This short story provides many indications of this with the use of the setting, and detailed descriptions of Elisa Allen. The inability to voice their own opinions causes Elisa to divulge in another means of expression, her chrysanthemums. In the Turtle, John Steinbeck shows that the little by little the turtle becomes desolated by everything that happens to it.
Henry's so called flattering compliment towards her appearance, is insulting and Elisa sexuality does not feel so much as a woman. Once Elisa sees her chrysanthemums, that she gave to the tinker, on the side of road her dream is crushed. Elisa is heartbroken due to the tinker’s inconsiderate rejection towards her soul, because the chrysanthemums symbolize her inner self. Similar to her husband, the tinker did not admire her womanly features that makes her a distinctive woman. The flowers leave Elisa feeling and realizing that their is no hope of her life
Three quotes from “The Chrysanthemums” (Steinbeck, 1938) that reveal something about the characters are: ‘Well, I can only tell you what it feels like. It 's when you 're picking off the buds you don 't want. Everything goes right down into your fingertips. You watch your fingers work. They do it themselves.
Further supporting Henry’s expectations, the way Elisa dresses while she gardens, downplays her femininity. As Elisa is busy working in the fields, her hair gets in her way and she moves it to the side. In the process she “left a smudge of earth on her cheek” (1). Having dirt on her face did not concern her, and so she did not take time to remove it. In Elisa’s mind, tending her garden allows her to find inner happiness amongst her chrysanthemums.
The wire fence in which her chrysanthemums reside “protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens” (Steinbeck 243). The wire fence not only shelters the flowers, but can also serve as a metaphorical protection for Elisa, further revealing the thin line between Elisa and her flowers. Elisa relies heavily on the chrysanthemums support and guidance due in part to her geographical location, the Salinas
Elisa grows cold and reverts back to her masculine ways: “Henry, at those prize fights do the men hurt each other very much?” (9) After asking about the fights, Elisa “Turned her coat collar so he couldn’t see that she was crying weakly like an old woman” (10). This imagery portrays that deep down Elisa isn’t strong like her husband thinks. Elisa has feelings that aren’t being cared for, and is also upset with her life. However, Elisa has no say because of gender inequality during the 1930s.
The Chrysanthemums Literary Analysis One of the themes of “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck is gender inequality. In this short story, the main character Elisa Allen was a strong, smart woman who was stuck being a common housewife. Elisa wishes she could go out and be like the tinker, sleeping under the stars and adventuring every day of her life. Elisa’s husband owns a ranch of some sorts, and when he tells Elisa of the business deal he’d just made he gave her an unspecific explanation, or a dumbed down one so he doesn’t “confuse her”.
Elisa is unhappy with her life, feels trapped, and unappreciated. The only way out for her frustration is her flower garden where she grows beautiful chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa and the limited scope of her life. Her husband is always too busy on the farm with the cattle so she never has enough attention or any kind of affection. Her husband also does not find any interest in her chrysanthemums.
Have you ever had your grandma give you an ugly, itchy sweater that you knew you were never going to wear? Would it change your mind if you knew it meant something to her? The sweater could symbolize a special connection with grandma. Authors often use symbolism to show the readers characters stories. In Of Mice Of Men, I believe John Steinbeck’s greater message is that everyone has something that shows who they are and their story behind it.
In the short story “The Flowers”, Alice Walker sufficiently prepares the reader for the texts surprise ending while also displaying the gradual loss of Myop’s innocence. The author uses literary devices like imagery, setting, and diction to convey her overall theme of coming of age because of the awareness of society's behavior. At the beguining of the story the author makes use of proper and necessary diction to create a euphoric and blissful aura. The character Myop “skipped lightly” while walker describes the harvests and how is causes “excited little tremors to run up her jaws.”. This is an introduction of the childlike innocence present in the main character.
An azalea is known for its softness and is often given to the ones you love. Maudie makes sure to be soft and gentle with the children as they are emotionally hurt from the result of the trial.
Alice Walker uses imagery and diction throughout her short story to tell the reader the meaning of “The Flowers”. The meaning of innocence lost and people growing up being changed by the harshness of reality. The author is able to use the imagery to show the difference between innocence and the loss of it. The setting is also used to show this as well.
Masculine and Feminine Roles in Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums” In the story “The Chrysanthemums”, by John Steinbeck, Elisa Allen lives an unsatisfactory life as she desires more than what is bestowed upon her. The reader learns Elisa’s husband is culpable for not seeing the beauty of his wife, leaving an open door for the antagonist, a traveler, to prey upon Elisa’s. Steinbeck uses Masculine and Feminine roles of the early 20th century, Internal Conflict, and an antagonist, to show Elisa’s struggle for Identity. Steinbeck illustrates Masculine and feminine roles of the 20th century in the “Chrysanthemums” to show Elisa’s struggle with identity.
In the early nineteenth century, John Steinbeck wrote a short story titled “The Chrysanthemums” that broke ground on the repressed sexuality of women in that era. Women of the nineteenth century were extremely repressed by the patriarchal society that was in power in that era, so they often were not able to express their femininity and their sexuality. The Nineteenth century woman that “The Chrysanthemums” follows is Elisa Allen, a middle aged farmer's wife. Elisa dresses rather mannish in the beginning and throughout most of the story, excluding of course at the end of the story when she wears a dress to go out to town. Elisa is also exuberantly passionate about her chrysanthemums and her sexuality and femininity is linked directly to her flowers.