Steinbeck - confirmation of her worth as a woman. Steinbeck...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Katie Davidson Professor Nolan English II 7 September 2009 The Short Bloom of Elisa John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” describes the bloom and death of a flower, Elisa herself. Henry and Elisa’s marriage is not bad; on the contrary, Henry seems like a good enough husband and Elisa a very dutiful wife. The symbols in the story, such as the wire fence, suggest Elisa is a strong person who lives a confined life, protected from the harsh world outside of her safe fence and devoid of passion. Steinbeck describes Elisa in men’s clothing to represent the covering of her femininity. When the traveling salesman approaches her, Elisa feels threatened and there is an ensuing feeling of tension until he mentions her chrysanthemums. She is attracted to the freedom of the peddler’s lifestyle, and as she responds to him, she undergoes a transformation. The flowers are an extension of Elisa herself, and act as
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: confirmation of her worth as a woman. Steinbeck gives the reader a very detailed account of Elisa’s preparations for the night out because it is symbolic of her blossoming into a confident individual. Her preparations are also her efforts to affirm her femininity not only to her husband but also to herself. Her moment of confidence, however, does not last long. After putting time and effort into her appearance, her work goes unnoticed by her blundering husband. The death of the beautiful flower is imminent once the couple passes the mismatched caravan and the flowers on the ground. In “a moment it was over,” the confidence from the insincere peddler is gone and she spends the rest of the trip with her collar turned up “so she could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman” (Steinbeck 238)....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 02/08/2010 for the course MATH SM212 taught by Professor Jones during the Spring '10 term at UPR Humacao.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online