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Help please with my critical paper on Steinbecks, "The Chrysanthemums." Any suggestions...

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kerifoconnor | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted December 5, 2011 at 10:57 AM via web

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Help please with my critical paper on Steinbecks, "The Chrysanthemums." Any suggestions or advice is greatly appreciated!

In John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" Elisa Allen is a victim of her own environment. Despite several attempts to communicate her way out of oppression, her pleas fall on deaf ears and the story ends as she quietly accepts her fate. She appears to yearn for someone to understand her for what she really is opposed to just the shapeless woman that Steinbeck draws her as in her gardening attire, reaching for anyone to notice her.

 

Elisa is an extremely lonely woman who spends her days exhausting her unused desires and passions growing and nourishing her garden and most particularly the difficult flower chrysanthemums. I believe this is also a sign of her motherly nature that she is unable to place on actual children since she does not have any. It shows again in the way she adores over them, the away a mother would her children, while speaking to the tinker. Despite being isolated far away from any other houses on the ranch that the Allen’s run, her husband Henry rarely pays due attention to Elisa, who yearningly watches as he does business not far from the cage of a garden she is tending. When he does however acknowledge her, he is a typical male and notices the garden, her ability to properly care for it and even her, not for its beauty but for what it’s worth. When he mentions that she should take her growing abilities to the orchards she jumps on his words, only to be shot down.

 

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wshoe | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted December 5, 2011 at 11:28 AM (Answer #1)

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You have some good ideas. I think you need to work a little to clarify and organize them.  To do that, I think you need to think about how, specifically, Elisa is oppressed. State that in the second sentence instead of just saying that she is oppressed. 

Also, consider removing Steinbeck from this sentence: She appears to yearn for someone to understand her for what she really is opposed to just the shapeless woman that Steinbeck draws her as in her gardening attire, reaching for anyone to notice her.

Physical appearance is one method authors use to develop characters. Stating that Steinbeck has clothed her takes the emphasis off of the character making the decision. Her clothes are part of her personality.  She chooses these masculine clothes for a reason and they reveal quite a bit of information about her character. Connect her choice in clothing to her emotions as she watches her husband conduct business and to what she yearns for.

You mention many important aspects of the story. Discuss them more and use details from the story to support your ideas.  Also, avoid using contractions and personal pronouns (like I) in formal writing.   

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