The Chrysanthemums Questions and Answers

The Chrysanthemums

She cries like an old woman because she is defeated and she is weakened and powerless to go back and change it. She is defeated in the sense that the man from the repair wagon manipulated her and...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2008, 5:57 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa and Henry's marriage is moderately happy but lacks a certain spark. How do we know this? Because Elisa is so susceptible to the flattery of a handsome drifter. Had Henry been perhaps a little...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2020, 7:33 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The setting of John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" has much to do with the character of Elisa Allen. Much like the Salinas Valley of California where she lives that is compared to "a closed...

Latest answer posted May 30, 2011, 8:51 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The story begins with a descriptive narrative about the Salinas Valley, in which the story is set. After a couple of paragraphs about the geographical setting, Steinbeck hones in on Henry Allen's...

Latest answer posted September 18, 2018, 4:15 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The tinker who passes by Elisa and Henry Allen's farm is looking to sell Elisa his services. He is a mender of pots and a sharpener of scissors and knives. He is not really interested in Elisa's...

Latest answer posted January 10, 2019, 8:58 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Steinbeck's purpose in this section of text is to highlight the contrast between Elisa's lack of femininity early in the story and the feminine confidence the farm's visitor elicits. Elisa's face...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2020, 1:07 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Enotes has an excellent article on the question of Elisa's sexuality, the link to which I provide below. In short, this critic argues that the tinkerer stirs sexual feelings  in...

Latest answer posted July 11, 2007, 7:47 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The opening of the story features richly described imagery described in metaphoric terms, including "grey-flannel fog" and "black earth shining like metal." Steinbeck uses similes to describe...

Latest answer posted October 25, 2018, 9:32 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The visit that Elisa has had with the stranger has awakened a desire to inject more excitement into her life and her marriage. Her vigorous bathing with a pumice stone is meant to suggest her...

Latest answer posted August 28, 2016, 9:27 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck's short story, "The Chrysanthemums," Elisa, the protagonist, is characterized at first as a woman who find pleasure in what she does on her husband's ranch. She especially loves...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2011, 3:17 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Authors often use literary devices in their narratives as the employment of this figurative language embellishes a story, making the common uncommon, extending the meaning of something beyond its...

Latest answer posted August 2, 2011, 11:04 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The "dark speck" that Elisa notices at the end of the story as she drives into town with her husband for dinner refers to the dirt that she gave the peddler. This of course triggers off a kind of...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2011, 10:35 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In this story, John Steinbeck conveys the idea that suppressing one’s authentic self does not change one’s identity. The protagonist, Elisa, lives a contented, generally satisfied life on a small...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2019, 5:51 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The narrative focuses on Elisa Allen, and she is a woman who seems to feel that she is marginalized by the male forces that surround her. She is clearly energetic, strong, and capable, but her...

Latest answer posted December 9, 2018, 4:49 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

At the beginning of the story, the narrator notes how efficient Elisa is at caring for the chrysanthemums; the suggestion is implied that she is capable of much more. This suggestion is fitting...

Latest answer posted August 29, 2013, 5:06 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

John Steinbeck’s famous short story “The Chrysanthemums” might easily provide the basis for a successful short film. The story has a lucid plot, memorable characters, an interesting setting, and...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2011, 1:51 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

No, Elisa Allen is not a round and dynamic character. She is a round character for sure; however, she is not dynamic. She is the same woman at the end of the story as she is at the story's...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2019, 5:03 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

"The Chrysanthemums" can be read in a feminist context as what Peter Lisca calls a "silent rebellion against the passive role required of her as a woman." This is a good starting point to...

Latest answer posted July 24, 2012, 11:22 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums,” the protagonist is Elisa, a lonely farm woman who struggles to find happiness in the isolated location where she and her husband, Henry, live....

Latest answer posted March 7, 2021, 12:30 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

When the tinker arrives on the Allen farm, his main objective is to be able to repair something so that he can earn money. After Elisa tells him that she has nothing in need of repair, he does not...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2011, 4:56 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In The Chrysanthemums, Elisa is portrayed as isolated but initially unconcerned with the solitary situation of the farm where she and her husband live. A sensible person, she seems satisfied with...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2019, 5:00 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The opening description of Elisa strongly suggests that she is an extremely capable woman whose potential is not being fully tapped on the farm where she lives. The house is aggressively...

Latest answer posted August 20, 2018, 11:56 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums" does not contain any specific reference to the year in which the events of the story take place, but the story's publication took place in 1937, two...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2019, 4:04 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck’s story, Elisa has greatly enjoyed discussing gardening with the itinerant peddler who has stopped by the farm. Although some part of her understands that she is trying to sell...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2019, 8:25 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Metaphorically linking Elisa with the "closed pot" of the fertile Salinas Valley, Steinbeck has both the land and Elisa existing in "a time of quiet and of waiting." After the stranger, who is "a...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2015, 7:38 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The short story "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck tells of a couple living on a cattle ranch on the foothills of the Salinas Valley in California. The woman, Elisa, is thirty-five years old....

Latest answer posted September 28, 2019, 1:48 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Irony, a contrast between what is expected and what actually occurs, serves to increase the impact of the story as well as its tone, the air of mystery that exists in "The Chrysanthemums." In...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2011, 12:20 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa is perhaps considered a complex character because she seems sometimes passionate and lively and at other times melancholy and restless. She is passionate and lively when she is working with...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2019, 5:32 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Let us remember what has happened to Elisa through her meeting with the tinker man. She, through his interest in her and her chrysanthemums, suddenly feels free to imagine a different life where...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2011, 8:03 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The stranger is a tinker: someone who travels from place to place, mending metal objects such as pots and pans. As part of his job, he effectively has to sell his skills to the people he meets on...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018, 11:34 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

Eliza's epiphany in the short story "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck might lie in her realization that men often treat women as things to be used to different ends. Sometimes those ends are...

Latest answer posted May 22, 2010, 8:35 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The quote that you are looking for can be found about halfway through this John Steinbeck story, and the quote is said by the stranger that comes to visit Elisa and Henry Allen's ranch. Most...

Latest answer posted May 2, 2019, 2:53 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Below, I provide some quotes that exhibit one of the main themes of the story: female sexuality. Behind her stood the neat white farm house with red geraniums close-banked around it as high as the...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2018, 10:46 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

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...

Latest answer posted March 3, 2016, 10:16 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

In the story, "The Chrysanthemums," by John Steinbeck, Elisa's "sense of power" comes from her ability to make things grow. She takes great pride in this, and this helps her to define who she is...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2011, 2:23 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa Allen and her husband have a certain barrier between them in their relationship that prevents intimacy and stimulation, whereas with the stranger, Elisa seems to subtly seek an intimacy and...

Latest answer posted June 18, 2015, 12:33 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

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...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2010, 12:03 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa's sense of self-worth is tied to the land. She's connected to the season, the climate, and the terrain in which she lives. The author sets the mood of the story with the winter fog, which...

Latest answer posted September 15, 2007, 4:35 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa watches the tinker departing, leaving her behind on the farm. She has become captivated by the prospect of the tinker's adventurous and unpredictable lifestyle—the ability to "sleep right in...

Latest answer posted April 4, 2022, 11:42 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

Steinbeck's "Chrysanthemums" is a short story first published in an 1937 issue of Harper's, and later in a collection of stories in The Long Valley, published in 1938. It is believed by some to be...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2010, 4:10 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck's "The Chrsanthemums," chief among the symbols are the chrsanthemums, of course, pots, the fence, and the tinker man, but there are others, as well. In the exposition,...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2009, 11:42 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Elisa's chrysanthemums are the only things that give her life meaning, but when the unscrupulous traveling tinker throws them away on the road it is as if he is negating her reason for living. The...

Latest answer posted December 10, 2012, 4:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums," Elisa Allen presents as a strong, capable woman. She is proud of the work she does at home and in her garden, and Steinbeck makes it clear that...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2019, 11:26 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

The Chrysanthemums

To answer this question we need to understand that Elisa is a character who is fundamentally trapped and restricted in a world where she is unable to fulfill her own dreams and potential. The...

Latest answer posted March 15, 2012, 3:36 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

In John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums," the traveling repair man ignites the repressed passion in Elisa as well as her other hidden qualities. When he arrives he finds Elisa unreceptive to him;...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2011, 11:46 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

The Chrysanthemums

Elisa has a decent husband. He is steady and a good provider. So, Elisa has no real concerns about money or stability. However, as a result of her encounter with the stranger, she realizes that her...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2016, 11:43 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Many of John Steinbeck's short stories and novellas take place in the Salinas Valley, like "The Chrysanthemums" and Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley, and he knew the area...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2018, 6:26 pm (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

While the female protagonists in John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" and Ernest Hemingway's "Cat in the Rain" are vastly different, there are a few similarities between the two. Elisa and the...

Latest answer posted December 30, 2018, 7:10 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

Since the original question is "Name ten objects in the chrysanthemums that symbolize something [sic]," here are other symbols that John Steinbeck employs in his short story in addition to the...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2013, 9:28 am (UTC)

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The Chrysanthemums

The quest for the American Dream is portrayed through two different characters in "The Chrysanthemums." The typical American Dream is at least partially dependent on earning an income capable of...

Latest answer posted November 3, 2019, 7:09 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

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