What age level would John Steinbeck's "Chrysanthemums" be appropriate for?
A 7th grade teacher used an exerpt from this short story with her class. It used colorful phrases like "heaving bosoms" and focused on marital adultery.
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The story's focus in on Elisa and her inability to be able to get her husband to see the beauty in her and her flowers, actually. She cannot get her husband to appreciate the aesthetic nature of her flowers and how proud she is of that.
This story has no adultery in it, nor does it imply any. There is clearly some innuendo with the main character and the pot-mender, but there is no direct hint to lead us to believe that any adultery would ever happen. In fact, the pot-mender's purpose in the story is to give Elisa, the main character, a sense of pride and a new-found joy in someone who seems to be interested in her chrysanthemums. It turns out, however, that the pot-mender is not interested in her flowers at all. I would not hesitate to allow teenagers to read this.
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