Symbolism In John Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums'
The flowers symbolize Elisa’s virginity. Rather than breeding her flowers, she bypasses normal fertilization and makes clones, propagating the flowers. She cares for her flowers in the most delicate of ways, “her terrier figers [destroying] such pest before they get started” (423). She also provides detailed instructions to the tinker on how to care for them, symbolizing the way she has protected her virginity until this time. When giving away her “beautiful” (423) chrysanthemums to the tinker, they are perfect and pure, where as in the end, they are “a dark speck” (425) on the side of the road. Just by seeing that dark speck, Elisa knows that her chrysanthemums have been thrown out by the tinker. Now, her flowers are a dark speck, quite contrasting to the beautiful description in the beginning. Elisa plans to lose her purity tonight and the flowers do an excellent job of showing