Chrysanthemums Essay

729 WordsFeb 16, 20123 Pages
English 1A February 16th, 2012 Response to Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums “The Chrysanthemums,” by John Steinbeck, illustrates the theme of a woman's dissatisfaction with her loveless marriage and a passion for adventures, life, children, equality, sex, and love. we are told a story about Elisa Allen and her flowers. While she is very good at tending her garden, she can’t help but feel something is missing from her life. There is obvious tension between her and her husband Henry. He is off doing work on the farm and making money while Elisa stays home, day after day, growing beautiful chrysanthemums. There are no children in the picture so we assume that the couple does not have sex, in turn making the marriage an unhappy one. While Elisa is gardening one day, a traveling Tinker comes wagoning on up the road to the farm. There is a certain taboo feeling between the Elisa and the Tinker. She is envious of his drifter way of life, traveling from Seattle to San Diego and back every year. He basically mocks her, saying “It ain't the right kind of a life for a woman” (Steinbeck, 6). This story takes place in the Salinas Valley on a gray, foggy, December afternoon. Despite Steinbeck letting the reader know that there is “no sun” during this time of year, Elisa’s chrysanthemums are as vibrant as ever. One can look deeper into the contrasting plant life of the garden and the valley and relate it to Mr. and Mrs. Allen themselves. The valley is cold and empty with the lack of rain caused by the fog, just like Henry is in a way cold and empty towards Elisa. Now, Elisa on the other hand, is a beautiful and exciting flower planted in the middle of this baron landscape. When Elisa offers to give the Tinker chrysanthemum sprouts the excitement is overwhelming because in a way she is sending part of herself out into the world. While on the way to her date with Henry,

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