What kind of person is the tinker? What is the mesage of humanity in the story?  

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kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The tinker drives his horse and buggy along the coast each year. His sign says, "Pots, pans, knives, sisors, lawn mores, Fixed." He is big and has dirty hands but he is good at small talk. He is a salesman and his friendliness is only a ploy to attract customers, especially women. He manipulates Elisa to talk about her chrysanthemums. Her attitude changes because she is talking about what she loves. (She thinks that he is really interested in her.) She finds work for him. Later she discovers her flowers were discarded along the road, as mere garbage. She realizes that he didn't care about the flowers at all or her.

The story shows people's human frailtys. She is just a lonely woman whose existence is limited to the ranch where she lives. It was a traditional woman's life. Unlike in today's world, she doesn't have many opportunities for interacting with people during the days. The man, the Tinker, however meets women like her everyday of his life. He knows how to handle her (manipulate). It's sad but true. Elisa realizes her limited existence becasue of her reaction to the Tinker.

This story reminds me of a contemporary movie with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, "The Bridges of Madison County" where Streep is a lonely woman(an immigrant) living inthe midwest. She meets the photographer and they have an affair. It's beautiful ! But in "The Chrysanthemums" that affair never happens and of course he didn't really care about her. It was a different time in history too.

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The Chrysanthemums

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