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The central idea in Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” concerns a woman’s loneliness and unfulfilling life in her marriage, which she sublimates by gardening and tries to satisfy through her fantasies with the tinker man, only to be brought back to the reality of her loneliness when she discovers that the tinker man had no real feelings for her at all and lacks the sensitivity she seeks in a man and in life. Steinbeck validates a woman's sexuality in this story while also depicting a woman as facing enormous difficulties in satisfying sexual and other needs through men who lack own depth and sensitivity.
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