The Repence Of Omniscience In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

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“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck examines a moment in the life of Elisa Allen, house wife and gardener. The story tells of Elisa’s experience with a traveling tinkerer who aims to earn a bit of money repairing their pots and pans. While the interaction with the man does not last long, it awakens something in Elisa that she had long put to bed. Steinbeck masterfully captures the suppressive life of an American wife in the 1930’s with realistic style. The story beings on a hazy December day with Elisa tending to her chrysanthemums, the story’s namesake, and her husband talking to some unnamed businessmen. This is the first time that Elisa is described with her attributes matching a masculine figure very closely. Steinbeck describes …show more content…
The point of view is instrumental in setting Elisa as a conflicted character. The reader is left to question what things mean and why Elisa does seemingly strange actions like crying like an old woman (1068). The absence of omniscience helps to further the credibility and realisticness the story. Steinbeck used this to broaden the scope of the narrative, because if this story was told in Elisa’s first-person, then the reader would have no reason to think about Elisa’s actions or meanings and the story’s meaning would fall flat. The point of view helps the reader to see and notice things that otherwise wouldn’t be pointed out. Elisa would not naturally comment on her frustrations with her husband’s inability to understand her, but when her actions are view through a third-person view, the reader can see in her reactions and facial features her true …show more content…
This choice fits with the occupation and time period of Elisa and her husband as farmers in the 1930’s. There is also a dramatic irony to the story as Elisa at the end tells her husband that, while she seemed interested in the fights, wine with dinner will be plenty exciting (1068). The reader knows that Elisa wants to get away and experience different things, which the fights would have offered, but instead seems to accept the wine as exciting enough. Steinbeck also uses symbols to indicate different things throughout the story. The color yellow is brought up multiple times throughout the story: in the “positive yellow leaves” (1061) of the willow trees along the river, her chrysanthemums, and “that under the high grey fog the willows seemed a thing band of sunshine” (Price). Elisa’s words seem to point to a ray of hope in her life that things might improve for

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