The Chrysanthemums Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

The Chrysanthemums book cover
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What are some ways to support the claim that Steinback uses different settings in "The Chrysanthemums" to help readers fully understand the main character, Elisa, more fully?

The claim that Steinbeck uses the different settings to help the readers understand Elisa more fully can be supported by examining her words and actions in her house, her garden, and on the road. Within financial constraints, Elisa is a careful, responsible homemaker for her husband and herself on their farm, but she comes alive in the garden amongst her cherished flowers. On the road, she reveals both new self-awareness and the limits of this understanding.

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Within the larger, rural setting of the Salinas Valley, “The Chrysanthemums” includes the more specific, contrasting settings of the Allens' farm and the road leading into town. On their farm, another contrast is drawn between the house and the garden. John Steinbeck helps the reader understand Elisa’s character by showing her in all three settings.

While the whole farm is the Allens’ domain, the fields are associated with her husband, while Elisa is...

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