The opening of the story features richly described imagery described in metaphoric terms, including "grey-flannel fog" and "black earth shining like metal." Steinbeck uses similes to describe Elisa, too, with "eyes...as clear as water" and, when she kneels on the ground as she speaks to the tinker, "she crouched low like a fawning dog."
Because Elisa has no life outside the farm, her existence could be seen as her being kept, not unlike a useful dog. To further suggest this symbolism, the text states that "while the man came through the picket fence Elisa ran excitedly along the geranium-bordered path to the back of the house" much like a watchdog would patrol the perimeter of a home's lot. She is also described as having "terrier fingers."
In addition to metaphors and similes in the visual imagery, Steinbeck employs rich auditory imagery. The tinker's wagon catches Elisa's attention with a "squeak of wheels and plod of...
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