The Use of Symbols in John Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums'

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In John Steinbeck's short story, "The Chrysanthemums," he uses the flower to symbolize his main character's thoughts and ideas. There are many examples of such symbolism in this work.
Elisa Allen is a lonely woman who enjoys growing and nourishing her chrysanthemums. Since her husband is always working the cattle in their farm, she never has enough attention or any kind of affection. The result of this dispassionate marriage leads Steinbeck to describe his main character as follows, "Her face lean and strong…Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low…clod-hopper shoes…completely covered by a big corduroy apron…" (Page 206-207) This neglect from her busband causes her to turn to her …show more content…

Right after the stranger leaves, she is full of confidence in her womanhood and goes to do a complete makeover. "After a while she began to dress, slowly. She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness." (Page 212) In this scene in which she transforms from gardener to a model, she goes through a revelation of thoughts. Her excitement from the stranger's interest in her chrysanthemums, gives her the confidence to

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