The Chrysanthemum Literary Analysis

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Elisa Allen, the protagonist in John Steinbeck 's “the Chrysanthemum”, is completely jaded by men in this story. The plot revolves around the interactions between Elisa Allen, her husband Henry Allen, and a male tinker that visits their farm. It is apparent that Elisa is a isolated on her home garden and suppressed by her husband. In their society men, especially the men in this story treat women in a very condescending way. When Elisa’s husband leaves her alone on the farm, she meets a tinker whose interaction liberates Elisa’s sense of self worth, but later crushes her spirit. She attempted to break free from the feminine restraints of society but fails at it. John Steinbeck 's “The Chrysanthemum” embodies how women are restricted and placed in subordinate roles in society.
When compared to Allen 's, Elisa’s role in society is much more insignificant. Elisa’s job is to tend her garden and to care for her husband. A
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Elisa’s desires to have a more invigorating, as well as meaningful, life than she currently has. When the tinker visits the farm she converses with him about how she could do his job of fixing things just as well as he could. In response the tinker is intimidated by her boldness and tells her that his life is “no life for a woman” (Steinbeck). She sees the life of the tinker as a fantasy, where she can travel and work independently in the free world, but her warns her that it’s not so easy. Because she is so infatuated with him, she eventually lets her guard down. This is symbolized when she removes her gardening gloves, that she rarely takes off when outside the home, to touch his hair. At this time she has opened herself to vulnerability. She becomes so naive that she goes as far as to give the tinker one of her precious “strong” chrysanthemums. She treats these flowers like the children she’s never had, she dedicates much of her time and energy to them. She so quickly hands them over to a stranger, assuming he would respect her prized
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