I want to ask about Elisa's personality in "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck.

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Chrysanthemums," a short story written by John Steinbeck, Elisa Allen is the protagonist, or main character.  As the story begins, Elisa is working in her flower garden as her husband talks to some business men.  A paragraph describing Elisa's work and appearance gives the reader a good idea of her personality.

She was cutting down the old year's chrysanthemum stalks with a pair of short and powerful scissors.  She looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then.  Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.  The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy.

This description leads the reader to understand that Elisa is extremely eager and powerful (not necessarily in only a physical sense), as well as energetic.  Later in the story, Elisa's interactions with the man in the wagon, reveal that she is extremely passionate about her plants, although her relationship with her husband seems of little importance to her.  Elisa seems to be unhappy in her life, although she cherishes certain aspects of it, such as her gardening.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator


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The Chrysanthemums

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