Essay about Chrysanthemums, A Review

Decent Essays

"The Chrysanthemums" introduces us to Elisa Allen, a woman who knows she has a gift for things, but can't make more use of it than to grow her chrysanthemums. She is trapped in the Salinas Valley, where winter's fog sits "like a lid...and [makes] the great valley a closed pot." Her human nature has made her complacent in ordinary life, but the short glimmers of hope offered by her flowers and a passing stranger reveal that there is more to Elisa than her garden. Her environment may be keeping her inside her small garden, but inside her heart there is a longing for more.

When we are first introduced to Elisa, she seems to look more like a man from afar than a woman who is gardening. She wears a man's hat, and her flower …show more content…

She is no longer hiding behind her man's hat, but rather tears it off to reveal her pretty hair and asks him to step inside the garden. When she gives the man a pot with a chrysanthemum inside to carry with him, she begins to tell him of her "planter's hands." Elisa becomes very excited, as she begins to think this man has something to offer her; he is a traveling man and can help her understand what freedom feels like. While she is speaking to him, she begins to get overly excited and almost grabs a hold of him. Unfortunately, he is not the man who can help her out, and draws the conversation away by mentioning dinner. As soon as he does so, Elisa becomes ashamed at her own excitement, the same excitement she showed when she was working with her flowers.

Elisa's glimmer of hope is gone now, and her character begins to reveal how she is trapped inside that valley, much like the valley is trapped from the rest of the world by the overwhelming fog. She becomes defensive against the stranger once more, and wants to prove to him that even a woman can do what he is doing. Even a woman can travel and fix things for people, especially one who has such a gift with her hands. The man's discomfort with the situation brings him to leave Elisa alone, alone to the sounds of her own voice whispering goodbye. Here is where human nature gets the best of Elisa, as she creeps back into her habitual

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