Jamie Wheeler Certified Educator Steinbeck uses in vivid imagery, which sets up the contrast between Eliza's "light" and the "grey" that consumes her world. The land parallels Eliza's isolation, both mentally and physically. In the first paragraph, the narrator says, The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all of the rest of the world.
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. 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. She is happy and pleased by her ability to nurture these beautiful flowers. 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.
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. Her resistance to his mundane matters disappears after the tinker romantically 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.
By giving him the red 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 life 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. Her hope is finally crushed when she sees the flowers on the road. 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 to change. Her femininity and sexuality are never going to be 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" 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. Work Cited Steinbeck, John. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.- Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck At first glance John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums' seems to be a story of a woman whose niche is in the garden.
Upon deeper inspection, the story reveals strong symbolisms of children, vulnerability, and connection--being the most important, of the main character. In "The Chrysanthemums," the chrysanthemum flowers are frequently used as a symbol throughout the story.
The chrysanthemums are mentioned throughout the story and can be seen a symbol of Elisa. Chrysanthemum stems are long, strong, and tough which are symbolic of Elisa's masculine qualities.
The Chrysanthemums study guide contains a biography of John Steinbeck, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
The most major symbol of the story are the chrysanthemums, which represent Elisa. Like Elisa, the chrysanthemums are currently dormant and bare, not in bloom.
Like . 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, .
"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck words - 3 pages realisticdepictions of life, portrays this motif through Kino, the doctor, Coyotito, and the town of LaPaz. John Earnst Steinbeck, author of The Pearl and many other stories, was born onFebruary 27, , in Salinas, California. The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck.
Home / Literature / The Chrysanthemums / The Chrysanthemums Analysis Literary Devices in The Chrysanthemums. Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory all right.
You get the idea. Steinbeck uses a few words to cram in a lot of meaning and depth. The whole story is like a dense and delicious .