Elisa Allen is the story's protagonist, a thirty-five-year-old woman who lives on a ranch in the Salinas Valley with her husband Henry. She is lean and strong, and wears shapeless, functional clothes. The couple have no children, no near neighbors, and Henry is busy doing chores on the ranch throughout the day. Elisa fills her hours by vigorously cleaning the ''hard-swept looking little house, with hard-polished windows,’’ and by tending her flower garden. She has ''a gift'' for growing things, and she is proud of it. For the most part, Elisa seems satisfied...
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