The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck Essay

709 Words Apr 21st, 2016 3 Pages
The short story, “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, is based on a farmer’s lonely wife, Elisa Allen, who hides her femininity and disappointments of her marriage by tending to her beautiful garden of chrysanthemums. Since her garden is her pride and joy, John Steinbeck made Elisa’s chrysanthemums the most important aspect of the story. The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa as a woman- her femininity, her happiness, her sexuality, and her desire to be wanted. In the beginning of the story, Elisa is portrayed as very protective of her chrysanthemums, just as a mother is protective of her children. Being a thirty-five year old, childless, married woman, the chrysanthemums somewhat symbolize what would be her children. Elisa kept a “...wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle and dogs and chickens.” ( Steinbeck 207 ) just as a mother protects her children from anything that might cause them harm, she also made sure to destroy anything that managed to get through that fence before it did any damage to her chrysanthemums, “No aphids were there, no sow bugs or snails or cutworms. Her terrier fingers destroyed such pests before they could get started.” ( Steinbeck 207). She also felt especially happy, even smug, when anyone complimented her garden, just as any parent felt when complimented on her children. Steinbeck describes Elisa’s gardening outfit of “...a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clad hopper shoes,...a big corduroy apron with four…

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