What is the tone in John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums"?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tone is typically defined as the author's attitude towards the subject matter of his/her work.  The tone of "The Chrysanthemums" is one of oppression and confinement.  Elisa is very confined and isolated, both physically and emotionally, and this is revealed through Steinbeck's description of the Elisa and her husband's homestead.  It is not close to other houses and it isolated.  Her beloved garden is enclosed in fencing.  The homestead is surrounded by a low-lying fog.  Elisa's husband believes in practicality and doesn't see the aesthetic beauty of things in life.  Elisa longs to have her husband relate to her on an emotional level, but he isn't equipped to do so.  He loves her, but cannot relate to her need for emotional closeness.  Also adding to the tone is the tinker.  His visit simply reminds Elisa of how confined and isolated she is.  She points out how wonderful it must be to travel around to different places and meet new people, etc. 

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The Chrysanthemums

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