John Steinbeck (). The Chrysanthemums ~ A Classic American Short Story by John Steinbeck (). The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed . Free summary and analysis of the events in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums that won’t make you snore. We promise. The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories has ratings and 29 reviews. Sabrina said: This review is solely based on the short story “The Chrysanthemums” as.
|Published (Last):||25 May 2007|
|PDF File Size:||15.48 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||19.85 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Lone Star College is conducting information sessions for businesses interested in becoming a vendor and doing business. John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums” is about a steiinbeck, strong woman named Elisa Allen who feels frustrated with her present life.
Her frustration stems from not having a child chrysantthemum from her husband’s failure to admire her romantically as a woman. The only outlet for her frustration is her flower garden where she cultivates beautiful chrysanthemums. Steinbeck uses chrysanthemums as symbols of the inner-self of Elisa and of every woman. First, the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa’s children.
She tends her garden and handles the chrysanthemums with love and care, just as she would handle her own children. Elisa is very protective of her flowers and places a wire fence around them; she makes sure “[n]o aphids, no sowbugs or snails or cutworms” are there.
These pests represent natural harm to the flowers, and, just as any good mother, she removes them before they can harm her children. The chrysanthemums are symbolic of her children, and she is very proud of them. When Elisa’s husband compliments her on her flowers, she chrysanghemum proud, and “on her face there [is] a little smugness” She is happy and pleased by her ability to nurture these beautiful flowers. Elisa’s pride in her ability to grow such beautiful flowers reinforces the fact that the flowers are a replacement for her children.
In the second steimbeck of the story, steinbsck chrysanthemums come to symbolize Elisa’s femininity and sexuality. The portrait of Elisa caring for the flowers as though they are her children is clearly a feminine image, but her masculine image is also observed in her “hard-swept and hard-polished” home This image is carried over into her relationship with her husband.
Elisa feels that Henry doesn’t recognize or appreciate her femininity, and this feeling causes her to be antagonistic towards him. There is an undercurrent of resentment towards her husband. Henry fails to see his short-comings, but Elisa fails to point them out to him. There is a distinct lack of harmony between them, which causes Elisa to become discontented with Henry.
On observing her prize flowers, all Henry can say is, “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big” Henry’s inability to understand Elisa’s needs leaves her vulnerable in her encounter with the tinker. The meeting with the tinker renews Elisa’s feelings of femininity and sexuality as a woman.
Symbolism in “The Chrysanthemums”
Her resistance chrysanthemuk his mundane matters disappears after the tinker chrysajthemum describes the chrysanthemums as a “quick puff of colored smoke” By admiring the chrysanthemums, he figuratively admires her. The chrysanthemums symbolize her sexuality, and she “[tears] off the battered hat and [shakes] out her dark pretty hair” With a few well-placed words from the tinker, her masculine image has been replaced with a feminine one.
The tinker is a catalyst in Elisa’s life. By chrydanthemum him the stsinbeck flower pot with the chrysanthemums, she gives him the symbol of her inner-self. She begins to feel hope for herself and her marriage as the tinker leaves. She sees a “bright direction” and a new beginning for her marriage.
The encounter with the tinker gives Elisa hope and causes her to prepare for a more fulfilling life. After the tinker leaves, Elisa bathes, scrubbing herself “with a little block of pumice, legs and thighs, loins and chest and arms, until her skin was scratched and red” Elisa sheds her old self by scrubbing and brings new steinbwck and change.
She prepares for her night out with her husband. She dresses, lingering in front of the mirror and admires her body, her femininity. She puts on sheer stockings and a beautiful dress and leisurely applies her make-up.
She is looking forward to her evening with her husband. She hopes Henry will recognize her needs as a woman and provide her with the romance and excitement for which she longs.
However, this hope is quickly dashed. Henry’s best compliment on her appearance after she has changed is: This unflattering remark on her appearance doesn’t do much for Chrysantemum ego as a woman. Her hope is finally crushed when she sees the flowers on the road. She feels devastated by the tinker’s thoughtless rejection of her very soul. He, like her husband, has failed to appreciate the very qualities that make her unique as a woman.
This one symbolic act has left her with no hope. She realizes that her life is not going steiinbeck change. Her femininity and sexuality are never going to stfinbeck fully appreciated nor understood by Henry. She must learn to be content with an unexciting husband and her less-than-romantic marriage. Her devastation at this realization is complete and leaves her “crying weakly-like an old woman” Thus, the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa’s role as a woman. First they symbolize her children; later they represent her femininity and sexuality.
Elisa feels frustrated with her life because children and romance are missing in her marriage with Henry. Further, her husband fails to appreciate her womanly qualities and her emotional needs. The encounter with the tinker reawakens her sexuality and brings hope to Elisa for a more exciting and romantic marriage, but her realization that her life is not going to change is crystallized when she sees the flowers thrown on the road.
It devastates her completely to have to settle for such an unfulfilling life. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.
Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Chrysabthemum Star College logo. Submit High School and College Transcripts. Credits chrysanthemu at Lone Star College transfer to any public college or university in the state. Center for Civic Engagement Being involved in civic activities prepares our students for life after Lone Star College.
Become A Vendor Lone Star College is conducting information sessions for businesses interested in becoming a vendor and doing business. Library Hours and Locations Find the tools you need when doing research. Work Cited Steinbeck, John.