The Symbolism Of The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

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The Symbolism of “The Chrysanthemums” The short story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck follows a young woman named Elisa Allen. During the story, she works in her garden of flowers while her husband sells cattle to two gentlemen. Her husband, Henry Allen, came to Elisa to offer to go on a date after he was done with the two men. While working in her garden, a disheveled man, that remained unnamed, in a wagon comes in front of her house offering to fix her pots, pans, and other miscellaneous objects. Elisa has him fix a pot for her after he insists she has pots that need to be fixed. When the Tinkerer was on his way out, he said to Elisa that a woman up the street wanted chrysanthemums, but she could never grow them correctly. Elisa made …show more content…

In the beginning of the story, she is first shown working in her flower garden with a hat that covers her hair completely, clothing that hid her body, clodhopper shoes, and gloves, and her masculinity side is expressed during this time. Her face is described as “eager and mature and handsome” which is related back to her masculinity side (Steinbeck 1). When she brushes her hair out of her face, she smudges a piece of earth on her cheek, takes her gloves off and puts her strong fingers in the ground, and says she can grow anything that symbolizes her nature side. Her flowers, specifically her chrysanthemums, symbolizes her children she can not conceive or carry to full term. She is 35 years old and married yet does not have children in the 1930s. This points to her inability to have children. She protects and nurtures her chrysanthemums, John Stienbeck wrote “Her terrier fingers destroyed such pests before they could get started” showing that she uses her flowers as surrogates for her children she does not have (2). According to Investigating different dimensions of infertile women's quality of life: a descriptive cross-sectional study infertility affects 60 to 80 million married couples worldwide(Kiani). Sadly, Elisa and Henry Allen were one of the married couples that is affected by infertility. Her flowers also symbolize her feminine side. Other things that show her femininity are when she lets her hair out of her …show more content…

His outfit is a black suit that is worn out, wrinkled, and has grease spots with a battered hat, this symbolizes his disheveledness and impoverness. He had dark eyes and calloused hands, the dark eyes show he is untrustworthy and the calloused hands show he works hard and a lot with his hands. The Tinkerer is symbolic to the freedom that Elisa wants to have. The Tinkerer lives in a wagon and Steinbeck reveals where he goes “I go from Seattle to San Diego and back every year”, said the TInkerer(4). When Elisa says “That sounds like a nice kind of a way to live” supports that she wants more in life(4). The Tinkerer’s wagon has a canvas top that read “Pots, pans, knives, sisors, lawn mores, Fixed,” and has an old horse and little gray and white burro pulling the wagon with a mongrel dog in the back. This shows that he is uneducated and is disorganized. The Tinkerer is a callous, street smart person, he manipulates Elisa into fixing a pot and tricks her into giving him her chrysanthemums. He does not care about Elisa, he only talks to her to get money for himself. The Tinkerer is sycophancy, obsequious behavior toward someone important to gain advantage, he retracts his words to make him likable towards Elisa. Such as when him and Elisa were talking about her chrysanthemums, he made a comment about the smell of them and after he said that Elisa said she liked the smell and he retracted his words and said

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