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A Deep Look At Elisa Allen in Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums

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The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck is not just a simple short story. Yes it is a short story about a country housewife that lives a boring life and grows beautiful flowers. She is then mislead to believe that a perfect stranger has interest in her flowers and is moved to reveal to him her secrets in growing them and even give him not only some of her prized shoots from the flowers but also some work so that he is given what he originally wanted. She then finds her shoots thrown haphazardly on the side of the road. She begins to ask for wine and becomes very saddened and begins to weep. On the surface it seems like a very superficial story about how a woman could be deceived by a man into believing that he has interest in what she can…show more content…
She grows the Chrysanthemums as an expression of her femininity and womanhood. “As the Chrysanthemums express her feminine side when her husband inhibits her, she must care for them as if they we her. The existence of the flowers mirrors her own. If Elisa were to let them die, either by her own hand, or through neglect of others, she herself would experience death-a death of what she needs, but cannot have in any other way and maintain her marriage. This would create a collapse of her sense of self, and make her into an empty shell of a woman.” (Berry) The Chrysanthemums represent her true inner essence and when she discovers that they man looking to fix her pots left her precious Chrysanthemum shoots on the side of the road, she feels a sense of neglect that is very powerful. She then decides that wine will help her feel some sort of contentment but in that moment she moves from a powerful fertile woman into a bitter old woman through the power of simple neglect. Elisa’s fulfillment came through her flowers, once they were abandoned on the side of the road Elisa felt herself to be trivial and unappreciated and finally came to terms with the way the world viewed her. After the man who admires her Chrysanthemums leaves her Elisa begins to ready herself for a night on the town with her husband Henry. He witnesses her transformation and although he may be appreciating her beauty he
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