The Chrysanthemums Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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How does Elisa and Henry's relationship change over the course of The Chrysanthemums?

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In her first interaction with her husband, Elisa is a little smug with him. He compliments her work but then, somewhat dismissive, says she ought to put more work into the orchard. He has sold some cattle and offers to take her to dinner and a movie to celebrate. She is appreciative but in a pretty stoic way. She reacts nonchalantly and simply says "Oh, yes. That will be good." There is some subtle but clear tension between the two of them and some resentment on her part. But Henry doesn't take notice of it. 

Elisa is fascinated by the stranger's way of life. It awakens some repressed feelings in her. She tries to describe her method of planting. She attempts to describe it in terms of the stranger's way of life: 

I've never lived as you do, but I know what...

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