Chrysanthemums Essay

629 words - 3 pages

Summary
Elisa was cutting down last year's chrysanthemums, in the Salinas Valley. Henry (Elisa’s husband) asks Elisa if she would like to go out a restaurant and a picture movie to celebrate his sale. Henry leaves, and Elisa continue to garden, but while she is gardening a man drives up in a wagon. The man asks to do any job like sharpening scissors and fixing pots and pans. Elisa tries to send him away, but the man asks about the chrysanthemums, so Elisa gives him a couple of pots to fix and some money for fixing them and a chrysanthemum to give to the lady he had mentioned. When Henry drives Elisa to dinner, Elisa sees that the man had thrown the plant on the road and she began to cry.

Significance of Point of View
The story Chrysanthemums is told from a third-person point of view. In the story, the narrator refers to the characters as “he” or “she” rather than “I” and “you”. As ...view middle of the document...

When I look at the world through the eyes of the writer, I see the feelings of Elisa and Henry. As well, when the man talks about the chrysanthemums, the narrator does not tell us that he is deceiving Elisa. As well, when Henry tries to please Elisa, by saying that she looked nice, but Elisa doesn’t understand. This short story is told in third-person in the point of view of Elisa.

Significance of Symbolism
The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck uses many symbols to demonstrate the meaning and depth to the story. This is about the inequality of gender and reveals that the Salinas Valley and the chrysanthemums are symbols which emphasize the theme. Symbols have more than one meaning or interpretation. The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa's well-being. For instance, the chrysanthemums are beautiful and are becoming stronger, just like Elisa. In Chrysanthemums, Elisa said, “Yes. They'll be strong this coming year.” regarding to the chrysanthemums that she planted in her garden (Steinbeck, 1). This represents that Elisa is growing a becoming stronger. At the end when the man throws the plant on to the road and kept the red pot, this shows how the society has rejected women as just housewives and nothing more. As well When John Steinbeck mentions the Salinas valley as a closed pot; it is referring to Elisa life. Elisa's life is isolated and trapped from everyone else. I think that the symbols slowly emerge as the story progresses. In the Chrysanthemums, the symbols are the chrysanthemums and the valley. The symbols represent the struggle of women and Elisa's life.

Significance of Theme
The story Chrysanthemums makes me think about the limitations of marriage. Elisa is limited to staying home all the time, but she wants to be on the road and do things men can. For example, when the man came and said he sleeps in the wagon, Elisa said “I wish women could do such things." Limitations will never lead to full happiness. In this story there are more themes. There are limitations and opportunities, and inequality of gender. I feel that inequality of gender and limitations represents the story as a whole.

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