John Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums" is about a proud, strong woman named Elisa Allen who feels frustrated with her present life. Her frustration stems from not having a child and 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.
But through deeper examination the story discloses significant symbolism of children, susceptibility and their association with Elisa, the chief protagonist of the story. Elisa is most pompous in the garden and destabilized when she becomes defenseless and loses her association to the external world. Elisa projects a fresh sensation of self-assurance when she makes this link to a peddler, who is yet another cause of her understanding of reality. To amplify the appropriateness of the usage of symbols in the story we can put forward that the chrysanthemums represents Elisa's "children." She nurses her garden and takes care of the chrysanthemums with affection, just like she would nurture her own offspring.
The poem illustrates a woman who was once so full of potential, evident in “Someone she loved once passes by – too late”, implying she has changed over time and the fact that it is now too late to revert back to her former self or to get back what she once had. The poem shows a woman whose identity has been lost due to her three children. Consequently she is lonely and she has lost interest in herself. The figurative expression “They have eaten me alive” shows only a truth she knows and a truth she is unable to share suggesting that her life and identity have been destroyed by her selfless giving to her children. She believes they are using her for their own survival and in doing so, she is slowly dying inside.
Discuss how innocence and loss thereof, are portrayed in Alice Walker’s ‘The Flowers’ and Lillian Heker’s ‘The Stolen Party’ “Maybe innocence is a skin you must shed to build layers more resistant to the caustic truths of the world.” –Hector Tobar. This quote gives a reason as to why innocence may be lost due to experience. In the short story, ‘The Flowers’ by Alice Walker, a young girl discovers a hung man in the woods while she is picking flowers. We see how she changes after that experience as she has been exposed to something that she will never fully recover from. The name of the short story is important as flowers symbolise innocence due to their beauty and delicacy but it can also symbolize death as they are associated with funerals and graves.
At first glance John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums' seems to be a story of a woman whose niche is in the garden. She seems to be oppressed by a male-driven society. It is a story about a marriage which has its limitations. Elisa seems to be a lonely woman who finds more joy and fulfillment in gardening than she does in her marital life. The flowers have been used to symbolize Elisa's soft and delicate character.
RIPE FIGS In Kate Chopin’s short story “Ripe Figs” we are presented with two characters that stand in sharp contrast to one another; Whereas Babette is an impatient child, Maman Nainaine is a patient woman. The two characters’ ability to wait is made evident in their response to nature. For instance, Maman Nainaine tells her that she may visit her cousins when the figs have ripened. Babette clearly finds it difficult to wait patiently until the harvest at the end of summer, for “every day Babette dance[s] out to where the fig-trees were in a long line against the fence” and “each time she [comes] disconsolate away again” (7a). Although she knew she’d have to wait “a very long time”, she still cannot stop herself from checking each day, almost as though she thinks she can push nature to speed up.
Eveline seems worldly wise. She takes the children out as a substitute mother, which contrasts with sitting by the swings so she can ‘watch the boys’, suggesting growing awareness. She is ‘pouting’ at the end of the story as if a grown woman however the ‘red’ from the ‘smarties’ an image of childhood. Childhood is not, however, always the innocent thing we expect. Therese is glad at the wasp ‘corpses’ –which could be a foreshadow of the girl’s death and takes a stone to
In “Pathedy of Manners” by Ellen Kay, the character seems to represent lack of satisfaction, lost opportunity and regret. The poem paints for the readers, an image of a girl that had it all. She was Phi Beta Kapa in college, smart, pretty and sought after by men. She even went on to get married, “They had an ideal marriage and ideal but lonely children in an ideal house.” This shows that the children were not given much attention. Not even the children are happy in the “ideal house.” Later the poem says: “I saw her yesterday at forty-three, her children gone, her husband one year dead, toying with plots to kill time and re-wed illusions of lost opportunity."
She knows that, if she stops growing the flowers, she will eventually give up on those elements the flowers represent for her, her aspirations and her dreams. Moreover, the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa herself. When the tinker arrives, Elisa is very cold toward him. However, as soon as he mentions the chrysanthemum, her attitude completely changes. From Elisa’s perspective, the man’s acknowledgement of the chrysanthemums symbolize that, for once in her life, someone has finally seen her beauty, and her hard work.
So Lily ran away with Rosaleen to go find a place where she thought her mother had been. She left her miserable life back at home so she can fine things out about her mom and start a new life. The bee community is similar to the human community in so many ways in how the colony is not the same when the queen is no longer there and how they leave to start fresh again just like the human community but yet the are so different. The bees and the characters can relate to each other in many ways. When the Queen is missing from the hive, the workers very quickly sense her absence.