One of the risks Elisa takes is trusting the repairman, also by telling him her thoughts and feelings, and by giving him the “Chrysanthemums” plant. At the end of the story, it shows that Elisa feels sad and betrayed because. When she told the repairman about how she feels he said, “a woman can't live the life he lives.” Then he describes how it feels and she felt even worse. The second way she got betrayed was when she gave him the “Chrysanthemums plant.” Later on in the story when she was going out for dinner on the way there she sees the “Chrysanthemums” holder. She makes up excuses to make herself feel better but it did not work.
If he gave her any personal praise, as a woman of distinct qualities (one who was vital to the farm's survival), he might be empowering her. Thus, he keeps his praise for her superficial skills, growing flowers. In this way, Henry frustrates Elisa by not seeing into her true character. The flowers represent Elisa trying to find some way of escaping from her frustrated and repressed husband, not from her own sexual frustration.
John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" shows the true feelings of the main character, Elisa Allen, through the use of setting and her interactions with other characters in the story. By way of vivid descriptions, Elisa's feelings of dissatisfaction over the lack of excitement in her life are portrayed. Her role as a mere housewife and then the subsequent change to feelings of a self-assured woman are clearly seen. These inner feelings are most apparent with the portrayal of Elisa working in the garden with the chrysanthemums, the conversation she has with the man passing through, and finally, when she and her husband are going out to dinner.
Everything is everything in the world of short stories. Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums is full of thick rhetoric that raises questions and stirs the mind and imagination. Everything from the title, to the last line needs to be thought about more than once. The story isn't just about a farmer's wife who likes pretty flowers. Not in the least! The Chrysanthemums is a story about how Elisa Allen is forced to a life that she feels is trapping her. The story is set in the early twentieth century and these times don't allow for just any woman to leave her ordinary, socially and politically correct life. Feminism is a large part of the story, and main character Elisa Allen's language, actions, and even the way she is described play a large
Seemingly, the flowers represent Elisa. She believes she is strong and tough and able to accomplish anything thrown her way; however, taken for granted as she is only a woman allowed to look and act accordingly. Surrounding the flowers is a wire fence set up to keep out predators and to separate the flowers from the rest of the farm. The wire fence is symbolic in the fact that it is identical to the world Elisa lives in. Elisa is contained within the farm, unable to explore or leave without the help of someone else. Elisa is stuck on the farm, isolated from the rest of the world so that she can be kept safe. Naive and unaware of how the world works, her husband keeps her on the farm to protect her from harm. When Elisa gives the chrysanthemum to the travelling merchant, she gives him a small piece of herself. Later, as her and her husband are driving to town, she sees the flower tossed aside as though it was nothing; as a result, she realizes she could never go off on and live the way the merchant had. The flowers embody her character still, and how out of her home without protection, the world can be harsh and cruel. In short, Elisa’s isolation leaves her ignorant, unable to understand how callous the world is, and comes to the bleak realization that she can’t live a life anywhere outside of her fence. Because of how women were treated, constantly pushed down and unable to pursue their interests, Elisa is left unable to learn what life has to offer. Learning
In John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”, he uses the chrysanthemums, fence, and garden to symbolize Elisa’s thoughts and feelings throughout his story. He uses these symbols to show love, neglect, loneliness, protection, and passion for his characters.
Firstly, Elisa and Mrs. Mallard related in the fact that they both faced the sad reality that women in their time periods were unbearably unequal to men. For example, in "The Chrysanthemums," it was clear that women had no say in the business aspects of things such as running a ranch. This is
The setting of Alice Walkers short story” The Flowers” is important for us, the readers to obtain a perspective of how life was like growing up for a 10 year old African American girl by the name of Myop. The title of the story is “The Flowers.” When you think about flowers, you instantly compare them to being beautiful, pure, and innocent. The title of the “The Flowers” is a symbolism that correlates to Myop who is the protagonist of the story. Myop is just like a flower in the beginning of the story. She’s a pure and innocent child but that pure innocence changes when she discovers something that’ll change her life forever.
Elisa, also a housewife, usually had activities involved in routine housework and maintaining her flower garden, that was filled with chrysanthemums. She took care of the chrysanthemums as if they were her children, and being a farmers’ wife, she had more free time than her husband, Henry. When the tinker, also known as the tin man, came up to Elisa for work he tried to manipulate her into giving him some work to do. When the tinker saw there was no way Elisa would give him work, he tried to work her. “What’s them plants, ma’am?” (Steinbeck, 208). Tinker asked Elisa about the plants probably so he could influence her about chrysanthemums- that way they bond on the subject of the flowers and from there Elisa started to explain the importance of these flowers. Elisa doesn’t realize she’s being played with until near the end when tinker finally leaves she waves goodbye to him but her voice drops as she says the word “Goodbye to goodbye”, finding that the tinker threw Elisa’s chrysanthemums away (Steinbeck, 210). This quote showed the attachment for the chrysanthemums Elisa had, and the minute the tinker threw away those flowers, it broke Elisa’s heart. This makes Elisa thinks about how a man can get what he wants while Elisa
John Steinbeck’s, The Chrysanthemums, was published in 1938 in a book of short stories, entitled The Long Valley. The Chrysanthemums has been a rather powerful draw for scholars because of its wide gap for interpretations and analysis of its main protagonist character, Elisa Allen and also the unique descriptions used to portray the deeper meaning behind the setting of the story. Themes of sexuality, oppression of women, as well as other numerous types of conflict portrayed in this rather somber short story have made it a popular study among scholars and students alike. Steinbeck also uses literary elements including a dramatic tone, rich symbolism, and personification which increase the stories feeling and value exponentially. Steinbeck
"The Chrysanthemums" introduces us to Elisa Allen, a woman who knows she has a gift for growing things, but it seems to be limited to her garden. Diligently working in her garden, Elisa watches as men come and go, living their lives unconfined, wondering what it must feel like to have that freedom. That emotion is revealed as Elisa gases at her husband and acquaintances talking, "she looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then." As she tills the soil for her chrysanthemums Elisa tills the thoughts in her head. The garden she so desperately maintained represents her world. A world that will only flourish if nourished. Emotional nourishment and stimulation is what Elisa lacked and longed for. The garden is limited in space to grow and so is her marriage. The garden is safe, non-threatening and so is her world. The garden contains many different elements that make it what it is, although unseen, and if the proper nourishment is not given it will die, as with Elisa.
"The Chrysanthemums", one of John Steinbeck's masterpieces, describes a lonely farmer's wife, Elisa Allen. Elisa Allen's physical appearance is very mannish yet still allows a hint of a feminine side to peek through. John Steinbeck brings symbolism into play to represent Elisa Allen's frustrations and hidden passions. Isolation is another representation through symbolism found in "The Chrysanthemums." Elisa's failing detached marriage is represented through two symbols. The two reoccurring symbols are the chrysanthemums and fences. John Steinbeck draws pity from the reader for Elisa Allen who desperately wishes to experience the passions of a fulfilling marriage and the stimulation of
Steinbeck uses chrysanthemum’s to symbolize Elisa’s strength and power in order to show how societal standards cause women to miss out on opportunities and become frustrated with the confinement of their expression. “[Elisa] was cutting down the old year's chrysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors. She looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then. Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.” Chrysanthemum stalks require a great deal of force to be cut down, which is highlighted through Elisa’s use of “powerful scissors.” Ordinarily, flowers are portrayed as beautiful and delicate; however, chrysanthemums are sturdy and tough. Steinbeck chose specifically to use chrysanthemums because they symbolize the strength Elisa has; she is confident, empowered, and masculine, but all of her strength is confined within the standards of society just as the chrysanthemums are confined within the walls of her garden. Elisa, as a woman, is unable to express herself as strong, masculine, and proud because that was not the standard that women were held to during that time; her expression is confined to her work in the garden with her chrysanthemums, and it is frustrating for her to miss out on the opportunities that would showcase her strength and let it be appreciated by her husband and the mender because of the standard of delicacy and beauty that women are held to.
"[Elisa's] passionate involvement with the process of planting becomes an expression of all the suppressed romance in her life" (Lewis 393). "She is a strong, childless woman of thirty-five that has subliminated her maternal instincts by producing remarkable flowers" (French, John 83). Nevertheless, "the plants and flowers cannot compensate for the lack of understanding and affection from her husband" (McCarthy 27). In the story, Elisa plays the role of a simple-minded lady who allows her husbands thoughts and actions to dominate her. "Elisa's marriage neither fills her time nor fulfills her desires" (Hughes 24). However, Beach concludes that Elisa without a doubt has a "soul" and is much less simple than she seems (Beach 32).
John Steinbeck, in his short story "The Chrysanthemums" depicts the trials of a woman attempting to gain power in a man's world. Elisa Allen tries to define the boundaries of her role as a woman in such a closed society. While her environment is portrayed as a tool for social repression, it is through nature in her garden where Elisa gains and shows off her power. As the story progresses, Elisa has trouble extending this power outside of the fence that surrounds her garden. In the end, Elisa learns but does not readily accept, that she possesses a feminine power weak for the time, not the masculine one she had tried so hard to achieve through its imitation.