Symbolism In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

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In the short story “The Chrysanthemums” written by John Steinbeck, the flowers are symbolizing more than the eye may catch. The author displays how important these chrysanthemums are to Elisa Allen, but there is a deeper meaning to the flowers than just the love she has for them. The chrysanthemums represented more than just a passion and more than just her strength, but also her dignity. When they were thrown out on the side of the road, they symbolized her dignity which was now gone since the man she trusted them with had abandoned them and her husband she catered to lacked affection for her, because through their lenses she will never be enough. At the beginning of the story, Elisa Allen was progressively working in the garden with her flowers. Steinbeck described her by stating that “Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clodhopper shoes, a figured printed dress almost completely covered by a big…show more content…
After going an entire day showing her strength, when she went off to a dinner she seen something that broke her down completely. Steinbeck wrote “Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew” (210). Before even driving upon them she knew that those were her lovely flowers, lying on the side of the road. Just when she thought she could take it all, she broke. During this event in Steinbeck’s story, she and her husband were driving and “She turned up her collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman” (211). She was beaten down simply by a sight, not only was she crying but as if she was an old woman. This showed she was not as strong as she made it out to be, and she was terrified to let her husband see her in this condition. She lost all of her dignity when she saw those flowers and could not help but sit there and let the tears
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