The Chrysanthemums Character Analysis

909 Words4 Pages
Elisa Allen: The Chrysanthemums Elisa Allen is a smart, attractive, and ambitious woman whose talent goes unnoticed and lives in a society that does not allow women to have professional careers in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums. Elisa longed for her husband’s approval when it came to her talent with planting flowers. She desperately wanted to work in the business of the ranch and her offers of helping her husband were brushed off. Elisa’s husband is not as smart, but he makes all of the business decisions and runs the ranch while Elisa watches from afar. Elisa is unsatisfied with life and came in contact with a man who showed up on the ranch who she found appealing to talk to and quite flirtatious which is the kind of interaction she…show more content…
This man, also known as the tinker, who was looking for work fixing pots, pans, knives and lawn mowers. Even though this man’s logo on the side of his wagon were horribly misspelled, which may have been because of a lack of education, he came across as a witty man. The tinker was not on his usual route and was moderately persistent about sharpening Elisa’s scissors. Although she was hesitant about getting anything fixed, the two were rather flirtatious with each other and Elisa was charmed by his banter. Once the tinker had noticed Elisa’s chrysanthemums, this had motivated Elisa and she became excited and more enthusiastic than ever. It is clear that this man took advantage of Elisa’s weakness and manipulated her. She told the tinker step by step on how to grow the mums as was more than happy into giving this man a pot for the neighbor to plant. Elisa even goes as far as expressing how it feels on the fingertips when picking off the buds. The author describes Elisa’s feeling as, “Everything goes right down into your fingertips. You watch your fingers work…” (p. 633). Once the tinker had left, Elisa’s mental stimulation and self-fulfillment had left with him too. It is clear that she is unsatisfied with the relationship she has with her husband. Before the headed out for dinner, Elisa started to dress nicer and look for feminine. The tinker’s visit had…show more content…
She lives a stagnant life and does not move forward in finding the fulfillment she needs. Although she tried to make conversation that would please her husband by asking him, “Henry, could we have wine at dinner?” and, “Henry, at those prized fights, do the men hurt each other very much?” (p. 636), this is a conversation that would only interest Elisa’s husband and not herself. Elisa seems to have accepted the societal norms of living by the man’s rules. Women in this era had their housewife duties and took care of their husbands regardless of what their needs or wants were. Gender inequality was normal during the time this story was written. John Steinbeck did an excellent job with the character Elisa Allen. He showed how women were not treated equally and revealed Elisa’s emotional toll on the situation. Although Elisa’s interaction with the tinker was quite exciting and made her feel like a woman again, it had no effect on her in the long run to change her current situation. Elisa did however, got dolled up for her husband in the

More about The Chrysanthemums Character Analysis

Open Document