The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

The Chrysanthemums book cover
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What is the function of the setting in "The Chrysanthemums"?

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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 pot," Elisa is enclosed in the ranch where she lives and a secluded life. Her working in the flower garden suggests her fertility that only finds an outlet in limited nature, for she does not often leave the ranch.

Because she lives on a remote ranch, Elisa is vulnerable when the tinker gives her attention.  Her passions, so long dormant like the valley that waits for "the rains to come" in the exposition , become aroused.  But, the tinker merely toys with her and departs with her gift of a chrysanthemum. Morever, he tosses it out onto the road as he...

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