The Chrysanthemums Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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Chrysanthemums are beautiful, delicate flowers, which often symbolize happiness. In the short story, “The Chrysanthemums,” John Steinbeck walks the readers through the lives of Elisa and Henry Allen. They live on a foothill ranch in Salinas Valley, California, where they spend most of their days living a simple lifestyle. The Allens focus their time on maintaining their ranch, but in the eyes of Elisa, this meant more time for her to tend to her beloved chrysanthemums. Steinbeck incorporates quizzical diction and repetition to characterize Elisa and to define happiness, to convey the message that it is more important to be happy than to try to please everybody else. Steinbeck conveys a message through quizzical diction, which allows the reader …show more content…

While she is at work, “her face [is] eager and mature and handsome” (Steinbeck 1). Elisa is often put down and stereotyped into an archetypal housewife of the 1930s, especially by her husband. Her character is depicted as “mature and handsome,” rather than young and pretty. Her “handsome” resemblance is a reflection of how Henry portrays her. In reality, “her face [is] lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water” (1) and a youthful thirty-five years old. 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. To Elisa concentrating on her work is a better use of time, compared to removing dirt from her face. Among her flowers, she freely shows her unfeminine side, and is only ashamed of it around Henry. In addition, handsome labels Elisa as not having a pretty face. In an analysis written by Gale Cengage, Cengage expounds, “Elisa’s personality mixes masculine

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