As is typical of Steinbeck's fiction, ''The Chrysanthemums’’ uses clusters of images to subtly reinforce important themes and ideas. For example, imagery of seasons and weather reinforces the contrast between Elisa's life and the tinker's. Elisa's life is confined, closed in, as described in the story's opening line: ''The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world.'' The atmosphere in Elisa's world is grim; there is ''no sunshine in the valley now’’ and the air is ‘‘cold and tender.’’...
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