The Chrysanthemums Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

The Chrysanthemums book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What did the "speck of dirt" Elisa found along the way in "The Chrysanthemums" tell her about her moments with the "wagon" guy? no

Expert Answers info

stolperia eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write2,948 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Elisa had carefully prepared chrysanthemum shoots for the salesman to deliver too the woman down the road who had told him she wished she could have some. Elisa gave instructions for the care and pruning of the flowers so he could pass the information along. As she was sharing this passion of hers with the unknown gardener, Elisa was also imagining a different life for herself - one that allowed for traveling away from the isolated ranch where she lived, one that permitted a person to see things and meet people and be independent. And so, Elisa gave the salesman much more than chrysanthemum shoots - she gave him her dreams.

The "speck of dirt" was left on the road when the salesman dumped the shoots out of their container. Elisa recognized that he had not been able to throw the flowers off the roadway, so left them where they landed as he kept the pot so he could sell it later.

She whispered to herself sadly, “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot,” she explained. “He had to keep the pot. That’s why he couldn’t get them off the road.”

In seeing the flowers dumped on the road, Elisa was also seeing the futility of dreaming about going to other places and doing other things. Elisa's life was going to continue as it had always been - the most excitement she was going to have would be drinking wine along with her meal at the Cominos Hotel. Her time with the salesman had been wasted in useless dreaming.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial