Characters Reactions to Situations Essay

1179 Words Nov 16th, 2008 5 Pages
As Henry James sees it, characters are only as interesting as their responses to particular situations. This is true not only in any piece of literature with a character but also in life. I following text is my exploration into characters and their reactions to situations in John Steinbeck’s, "The Chrysanthemums" and John Cheever’s, "The Five-Forty-Eight". Characters in both of these stories are full of passion and come alive in the text as you read them. It is this resurrection of the text to full life in your mind’s eye that is at the core why people like to read!
In John Steinbeck’s, "The Chrysanthemums" we find husband and wife Henry and Elisa Allen as the main characters. Henry and Elisa live a peaceful stationary life on their
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I will leave these references and their meaning up to your imagination as I may be painting myself as a pervert here. I see Elisa as an untended flower that with just a little more attention would blossom into the beautiful women she can be. It is her troubles with intimacy that prevents this from occurring with Henry thus creating a troubling endless loop for Elisa.
Elisa comes across a handyman who passes by her farm asking her if he can get some work sharpening knives and scissors as well as mending pots and pans. Elisa covered in her gardening attire, tried to make this man go away with no luck. He was insistent on getting some work and she was even more so on him getting back in his vehicle and leaving.
The handyman then started to talk to Elisa about her Chrysanthemums with great interest and excitement. He asks Elisa if he can take some seeds of hers to another lady who in the past had asked for some. Elisa, like a flower, opened to the warmth this man was showing in her Chrysanthemums. She explains to him that this woman must not know much about growing Chrysanthemums because using seeds is the hardest way to grow them. She offers to give him a pot with a few little sprouts in some wet sand so he can then carry them to his friend. The reader can see the excitement Elisa feels and how she is like a blossoming Chrysanthemum in these sentences: “Beautiful,” she said. “Oh, beautiful.” Her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark

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