The Chrysanthemums Analysis

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SA 2: "The Chrysanthemums" is a short story of John Steinbeck which reflects the frustration in the present life of Elisa Allen, strong and proud woman. This frustration arises from not having a child as well as from the dissatisfaction in a romantic relationship with her husband. The only possible way out for Elisa's frustration is her beautiful flower garden where she plants chrysanthemums. The author frequently uses chrysanthemums as a symbol as well as a number of other items in order to more vividly represent the internal state of the protagonist.
One of the most important symbols in the story are chrysanthemums which fairly represent Elisa. Similar to Elisa, chrysanthemums are limited to quite a narrow setting, particularly the garden,
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As it was mentioned before, the Salinas Valley is depicted as a "closed pot" and that remains crucial in opening the personality of Elisa. It can be stated that at the time when Steinbeck wrote his story, women still were oppressed, although received certain rights and benefits, thus, this setting and background played a key role in Elisa's desire to feel strong and independent. Actually, the author through physical isolation of Elisa by setting his story in an isolated ranch in the Salinas Valley, emphasizes her emotional isolation. The general geographical setting in "The Chrysanthemums" with its isolated valley, the weather, and the apparent time period all seem to be stating that Elisa will never break loose and never defeat the male pressure that locks her into the Salinas Valley. Particularly, Elisa needs a car to leave the ranch, the thing that she does not have but men in her life do. In general, the setting of the story has much to do with the character of Elisa Allen. As she lives on a distant ranch, she remains vulnerable when the tinker gives her attention. Just as valley waits for "the rains to come", Elisa's passions remain dormant in the story. Furthermore, by setting his story in winter, when plants and vegetation are already dead or at least sleep, Steinbeck intensifies the prevailing

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