Imagery In The Chrysanthemum

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In “The Chrysanthemum”, Steinback uses imagery to reinforce the feelings of confinement and loneliness in the main character, Elisa’s, life. He gives detailed descriptions of her scenery and the people she interacts with to give the reader an impression of her feelings. He does this by writing the solemn description of the valley she lives in, her house, and the characters in the story.
To begin with, Elisa lives in a valley that seems to be very confining. “On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot.” Since Elisa lives in the valley, it is as if she is also confined in a closed pot. As a woman living during these times, Elisa did not go far from home, and she could not see beyond the valley because of the fog. In the story, it is described as being cut off from the rest of the world when Steinback writes, “The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world.” The description of the valley paints a picture for the reader of her surroundings and helps them understand part of her loneliness.
In addition, the two other character Elisa interacts with are her husband Henry and the tinker. Most of her conversations with her husband are dull and her lack of confidence becomes apparent. The most they seem to do is occasionally go out for
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Her house seems confining when one reads, “Behind her stood the neat white farm house with red geraniums close-banked around it as high as the windows.” The geraniums cover the windows, and just like the fog in the valley, they most likely block Elisa’s view of the outside world. Also, readers can infer she does not leave too far from home when the story explains, “It was a hard-swept looking little house, with hard-polished windows, and a clean mud-mat on the front steps.” The clean matts indicate she does not travel far. If she did, there would probably be dirt on the matt from her
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