"the Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck is a book about limitations and opportunities. The story opens with the setting in the Salinas Valley, fogged in. This will have symbolism throught the story as the reader begins to see that Elisa is fogged in as well. The garden, her little escape is fenced in, and her house is as well. Though Elisa enjoys what she does with her flowers, Steinbeck makes it a point that from her fenced in garden, she watches men come and go. It's not as if, of course, Elisa is a prisoner, she could come and go as she pleased, but she has confined herself to this life. It is for that reason, then, when the traveling tinker comes, she becomes swept away, imagining her life if it was his. She of course cannot go, so she imagines her Chrysanthemums traveling for her, reaching places she has never been and will never go to. when she sees her flowers on the road, carelessly thrown away by the tinker her becomes sad and cries because once again, she is confined.