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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is watch her husband, Henry, from afar as he makes the business deals and money for the household. The tinker who ,according to Elisa, does not even match her skill as a tinker, gets to ride about the country, living an adventurous life that is believed to be unfit for a woman. Steinbeck uses Henry and the tinker as a symbol for the patriarchal societies: They ignore a woman’s potential just like how society treats women as
Nothing feels as liberating as lifting the heavy binders that tie your spirit down- or keep your highly treasured hair in place. At least this is how it felt for the protagonist, Janie, as she embarked on a long journey toward self fulfillment. In “Their Eyes Were Watching God’, by Zora Neale Hurston, the author uses symbols such as flowers and a head rag to contribute to the meaning of the work that in order to live a fulfilling life, one must cease to live in accordance with other people’s ideals and instead pursue freedom and happiness for oneself. In the novel, flowers are used to symbolize maturity and becoming a woman.
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.
This could be interpreted as a reflection of the limited opportunities available to women during the time period in which the story is set, as well as the societal expectations placed upon them. Women during this era were expected to prioritize domestic tasks and raise children, while men were seen as the primary providers and decision-makers. By dressing in masculine clothing and engaging in outdoor manual labor, Elisa may be trying to assert her independence and challenge traditional gender roles. The heavy leather gloves that she wears while working also serve as a symbol of protection, both from the physical elements of her work and from the emotional vulnerability that comes with being a woman in a patriarchal society.
The Chrysanthemums Literary Analysis One of the themes of “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck is gender inequality. In this short story, the main character Elisa Allen was a strong, smart woman who was stuck being a common housewife. Elisa wishes she could go out and be like the tinker, sleeping under the stars and adventuring every day of her life. Elisa’s husband owns a ranch of some sorts, and when he tells Elisa of the business deal he’d just made he gave her an unspecific explanation, or a dumbed down one so he doesn’t “confuse her”.
So even though there are flowers present, she hasn’t bloomed all the way. It may also represent fact that Sally may have been beautiful but her life around her wasn’t. Sally was enduring things like a horrible relationship where she wasn’t allowed out, and the fake roses may have been an attempt by Sally to make her home a place that has flowers since she wasn’t allowed outside, but these flowers are only a pattern. Because they are artificial/fake, Sally hasn’t achieved the free, beautiful life associated with
Elisa felt special, her husband still ignored her. Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers that symbolize happiness and well-being, signaling the arrival of fall. They can embody someone's beauty, intelligence, and strength, and play a big role in John Steinbeck's short story, "The Chrysanthemums," to deliver the message that women can be dissatisfied with their lives due to a lack of womanhood and attention. The flowers are planted by a proud, strong woman named Elisa Allen, who has frustration about her present life with no children and no romantic admiration from her rancher husband. Despite this, she is a strong, lovely woman who plants and nurtures her flowers with care, as if they were her children.
Elisa is unhappy with her life, feels trapped, and unappreciated. The only way out for her frustration is her flower garden where she grows beautiful chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa and the limited scope of her life. Her husband is always too busy on the farm with the cattle so she never has enough attention or any kind of affection. Her husband also does not find any interest in her chrysanthemums.
She would brush it into such a tower of beauty, people all over heaven would drop their harps just to admire it. You can tell which girls lack mothers by the look of their hair, my hair was constantly going off in eleven wrong directions, and T-ray naturally, refused to buy me bristle rollers, so all year I’d had to rollit on Welch’s grape juice cans, which had nearly turned me into insomniac. I was always having to choose between decent hair, and a good night sleep. (found on page 3) Another way in which bees symbolize Lily is that some bees don’t like leaving their hive and Lily didn’t want to leave because her mom wasn’t there.
The author uses the marigolds as a symbol but, their meaning varies between each character. To a young Lizabeth , the marigolds symbolise beauty in a place that it doesn't belong. These beautiful flowers anger a young Lizabeth because she thinks they didn’t belong in the old dusty town she grew up in. To an adult Lizabeth these flowers hold a different meaning, they now represent hope to her. These flowers hold a different meaning to Miss Lottie, to her they represented what was left of love, hope, and beauty in her life.
“Whenever the memory of those Marigolds flashes across my mind, a strange nostalgia comes with it and remains long after the picture has faded. I feel again the chaotic emotions of adolescence,illusions as smoke, yet as real as the potted geranium before me now. Joy and rage and wild animal gladness and shame become tangled together in a multicolored skein of 14-going-on-15 as I recall that devastating moment when I was suddenly more women than child, years ago in Miss.Lottie’s yard.” Both of these examples go to show that little things can have much more meaning than what materialistic things seen, but that they can have strong emotional ties to a person who views them in a different way. When Lizabeth comprehends this topic it leads towards her gain in
To get started, the azaleas in the novel represent Maudie Atkinson because of her loving, strong minded, and compassionate character. Azaleas stand out because they are able to grow even in harsh and unbearable conditions. They still turn out to be in a perfect beautiful condition, unlike many flowers who need a good environment to grow. Maudie is a perfect representation of an azalea because she lives in the prejudiced, judgmental town