Elisa's Transformation Essay

780 words - 4 pages

In Steinbeck’s short story The Chrysanthemums Elisa, the main character, undergoes several stages of transformation. She begins the story as, what appears to be, a hard women that has been tempered by her years of work and toil on the ranch that she shares with her husband. Still with all of the outward appearance of strength, Elisa has a softness at her core that is symbolized by her prized chrysanthemums. Each stage of her transformation brings us closer to her true form.
In the beginning paragraphs Elisa is described by Steinbach as having a face that is lean and strong, with eyes clear as water. In addition to the strong face she displays a blocked and heavy figure, wearing a man’s hat ...view middle of the document...

While he conducts his business Elisa comments on how wonderful his life must be. He informs her that it is not a lifestyle meant for women. Elisa takes offense to his comments and he soon recants. He completes his assignment and departs stating that it is a lonely and scary lifestyle.
After the wagon is out of site Elisa bathes and readies herself for the evening’s festivities. At this point Elisa completes her outward physical change and transmutes into a very attractive and finely dressed women. At this point Henry, Elisa’s husband, comments on how nice she looks. Elisa demands to know what is meant by his use of the word “nice.” He informs her that she appears to be strong and happy. Elisa states that she is strong.
As Henry and Elisa depart on their dinner date Elisa spots her chrysanthemums in the middle of the road. She turns her head as they pass in an attempt to avoid seeing them directly. Elisa is obviously disturbed by the wonton discard of her prize possessions, which she has worked so hard to cultivate. Shortly after she spots the repairman’s wagon ahead of them on the road. This time she looks...

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