Even though Elisa is associated with fertility and sexuality, the couple has no children. She has allowed herself to become emotional, "the trait women possess," whereas men conduct business unemotionally Sweet Elisa ponders his skill with the anvil and the small machine hammer.
Elisa feels frustrated with her life because children and romance are missing in her marriage with Henry. Her energy has been largely squandered by years of acquiescing to farm chores, yet it remains still alive as she flashes her knife across the dead chrysanthemums, then removes a glove and thrusts a hand into the "forest of new green chrysanthemums that were growing around the old roots.
While beginning to write fiction, he worked to make ends meet as a lab assistant and fruit picker. He implies that not only is her life dulled but that she needs a new edge of sharpening to her life and offers her sharp-as-new shears that can cut through the bondage of her humdrum life.
It is crazy and loose-jointed and its crooked old wheels skirl and squeak, then stop before the house. Henry is dumbfounded by the striking change that has occurred within his wife.
Because she watches his lips while he fixes her pots, we watch them with her. She is a hard worker, her house sparkles, and her flowers grow tremendous blooms. Her physical attraction to the tinker and her flirtatious, witty conversation with him bring out the best in Elisa, turning her into something of a poet.
This one symbolic act has left her with no hope.
She kneels before the stranger and digs into the soil with her fingers, pressing new starts of life into the sand and tamping around them with her knuckles. Elisa would like this moment of intensity to continue, but the tinker reminds her that hunger overcomes inspiration, and Elisa, somewhat abashed by her own openness, finds some useless, old pots for him to mend.
It is a time of quiet, Steinbeck says, but the tranquility of this mood contains an ambivalent oppressiveness and anticipation. The wagon is a strange apparition, most unlike the Allen farm vehicles. Strangers in the Night… … Or day. The sensuousness of her husky voice and the erotic quality of her conversation about the chrysanthemums release his cautiousness.
Elisa is so frustrated with life that she readily looks to the tinker for stimulating conversation and even sex, two elements that seem to be lacking in her life. Read an in-depth analysis of Elisa Allen. At the same time, however, Henry is also stolid and unimaginative.
By the time she realizes her feminine emotions, it is too late: Like Elisa he is not old, and once he ceases laughing, his eyes become dark and brooding. All these readings are equally plausible, and the narrator never points to any single reading as the correct one.
His interpretation of what Elisa has uttered about her flowers he translates into rough, dangerous language. By the standards of his society, Henry is everything a woman should want in a husband: Following behind the back wheels of the wagon is a rangy dog, a mongrel that parallels the grotesqueness of the "crawling" schooner-topped wagon and its mismatched team of work animals.A summary of Themes in John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Chrysanthemums and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
Symbolism in the Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck Words | 8 Pages. John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" is a story that is full of symbolism. After the first read, it might seem like an innocent tale about a woman and her garden.
In "The Chrysanthemums," this struggle for equality is portrayed through Steinbeck's character Elisa Allen. According to Stanley Renner, "The Chrysanthemums" shows "a strong, capable woman kept from personal, social, and sexual fulfillment by the prevailing conception of a woman's role in a world dominated by men" ().
The chrysanthemums are symbolic of her children, and she is very proud of them. When Elisa's husband compliments her on her flowers, she is proud, and "on her face there [is] a little smugness"(). She is happy and pleased by.
The chrysanthemums symbolize both Elisa and the limited scope of her life. Like Elisa, the chrysanthemums are lovely, strong, and thriving. Their flowerbed, like Elisa’s house, is tidy and scrupulously ordered.
Elisa’s garden and the chrysanthemums all symbolize different phases of her life. The use of symbols in this story plays an important role in the readers’ understanding of the plot.
Imagery and symbolism are well placed throughout the story to help explain Elisa’s feelings, her deepest fears and desires.Download