With what details does the author delineate Elisa's character in the beginning?

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The opening line skillfully sets the scene for what kind of life Elisa and her husband lead in the Salinas Valley:

The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world.

Elisa and her husband are cut off from the outside world, living in a little bubble all of their own. Though normally a very beautiful part of the world, the Salinas Valley is shrouded in a thick pall of gray, wintry fog as the story opens, which serves to emphasize the kind of boring, humdrum existence that this married couple leads.

The second paragraph of the story behinds with "It was a time of quiet and of waiting". It's quiet in the sense that nothing much happens in this neck of the woods. But there's also a sense of anticipation in the air, a sense that something is about to change. Literally speaking, this refers to the local farmers' hopes for good weather. But in a figurative sense, it could equally be applied to a hope on Elisa's part that someone or something will enter her life and transform it for the better.

That's precisely what appears to happen when a fascinating stranger winds up on her doorstep. Just as the land is invigorated by a sudden fall of rain, so Elisa is invigorated, if all too briefly, by the presence of a man who makes her feel young for the first time in years.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 3, 2020
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