Characters Reactions to Situations

1168 WordsNov 8, 20085 Pages
As Henry James sees it, characters are only as interesting as their responses to particular situations. This is true not only in any piece of literature with a character but also in life. I following text is my exploration into characters and their reactions to situations in John Steinbeck’s, "The Chrysanthemums" and John Cheever’s, "The Five-Forty-Eight". Characters in both of these stories are full of passion and come alive in the text as you read them. It is this resurrection of the text to full life in your mind’s eye that is at the core why people like to read! In John Steinbeck’s, "The Chrysanthemums" we find husband and wife Henry and Elisa Allen as the main characters. Henry and Elisa live a peaceful stationary life on their…show more content…
On the road to dinner Elisa’s mood is reversed as she sees the Chrysanthemums sprouts lying in the road. She discovers that the handyman not only lied about his interest in her Chrysanthemums but also kept the pot and only threw away the flowers. He didn’t even have the decency to throw them to the side of the road where they might have a chance at life. Elisa feels discarded like these Chrysanthemums at that moment and the readers can feel it in this quote from the story: “Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew. “She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot, “she explained. “He had to keep the pot. That’s why he couldn’t get them off the road.” (Steinbeck 108-109) Like Elisa, Miss Dent’s character comes alive in the writing in John Cleever’s “The Five-Forty-Eight”. At gunpoint Blake’s former secretary Miss Dent, who is mentally ill, forcefully confronts him on a train. She is very angry for him firing her after a one night stand. The reader can feel her anger throughout the writing but the following reaction to Blake wanting to get up and move to the next car makes it clear: “Oh, no,” she said. “No, no, no.” She put
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