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Which incidents complicate the conflict in "The Chrysanthemums"?Which quote reveals the...

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fatini | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 15, 2010 at 11:29 AM via web

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Which incidents complicate the conflict in "The Chrysanthemums"?

Which quote reveals the climax?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted March 15, 2010 at 12:03 PM (Answer #1)

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Elisa, the main character in this story, has an internal conflict.  She struggles with her love for aesthetic beauty and desiring her husband to see and recognize it, not only in her flowers, but in HER.  Her husband is a good one and works hard on the farm, but he sees her flowers as nothing more than a great body of work...meaning he is impressed by the sheer number of them and how hard she works.  He does not appreciate their beauty.  Elisa wishes that he did, however.

The pot-mender that comes along flatters Elisa with compliments about her flowers and he flirts with her in subtle ways using that flattery.  This complicates her internal conflict because only later does she become aware that the pot-mender was a liar and was only trying to get some pots to mend.  He had no interest in her flowers, but she THOUGHT he did.

The climax occurs at the end of the story when she spots the chrysanthemum on the road.  The pot-mender had dumped it out on the road and saved the pot.

eNotes states:

Although the narrator, Henry, and Elisa have all praised her for her strength, she is not strong enough to overcome her limitations, and she breaks down in weak tears ''like an old woman.''

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