John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums Essay

572 Words 3 Pages
In John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums, the reader is introduced to the seemingly timid and shy Elisa Allen. Elisa is routinely planting her yearly sets of Chrysanthemums, which appear to be the sole receptor of her caring and gentle touch, but all the while it is evident that “the chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy.” Her hidden eagerness seems not only out of place, but out of touch with her dry and wilted surroundings, of which her husband, Henry, abruptly interrupts her steady pace. Inquiring of dinner plans, he is quickly shuttered out, so that Elisa can continue her work in the fenced in flower bed. This seems to be the only place on the ranch that belongs to her, and thus devoting the entirety of her time, …show more content…
Elisa is so engaged in the man, that she offers him Chrysanthemum sprouts to pass on to another customer. She excitedly explains how to care for them on his journey, but catches herself becoming too involved in the conversation when “her breasts swelled passionately” toward the peddler in the midst of the conversation. When this occurs, the reader catches a glimpse of the passion Elisa has for her hobby, which has remained buried in routine until now. She seems sad as the peddler departs whispering “good-bye– good-bye,” however, she quickly regains her sense of married farm life, looking around to make sure that no one noticed this moment of impurity.
Elisa quickly retreats inside to clean up for dinner, taking longer that usual to clean up. Henry shortly returns to the house to clean up as well, but notices the extra time Elisa must have taken, remarking, “why– why, Elisa. You look so nice!” After dressing, Henry leaves to start the car, and the two leave for town, and Elisa leaves her moment of passionate freedom behind. On the way, however, Elisa spots the cluttered…