This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbolism In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1866 words - 7 pages

Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

"The Chrysanthemums", one of John Steinbeck's masterpieces, describes a lonely farmer's wife, Elisa Allen. Elisa Allen's physical appearance is very mannish yet still allows a hint of a feminine side to peek through. John Steinbeck brings symbolism into play to represent Elisa Allen's frustrations and hidden passions. Isolation is another representation through symbolism found in "The Chrysanthemums." Elisa's failing detached marriage is represented through two symbols. The two reoccurring symbols are the chrysanthemums and fences. John Steinbeck draws pity from the reader for Elisa Allen who desperately wishes to experience the passions of a fulfilling marriage and the stimulation of a man's life. Through symbolism in "The Chrysanthemums," John Steinbeck creates a sexually repressed and discouraged Elisa Allen who is isolated from society however still retaining their values and is also trapped in a fruitless marriage.
Elisa Allen and her repressed sexuality are introduced to the readers through a manly appearance with a small clue of a womanly figure making an effort to peer through. This suppressed sexuality will eventually symbolically emerge. Elisa's symbolic clothing shows her concealed passions. "Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume (Steinbeck 1463)." Elisa tries to subdue her sexual desires by hiding beneath manly clothing, tools, and even her home (Duncun 1). "She wore a man's black hat, clod-hopper shoes…[and] heavy leather gloves (Steinbeck 1463)." She carried " short and powerful scissors (Steinbeck 1463)" and her house was "hard-swept and hard-polished (Steinbeck 1463)." Although she had a manly appearance she was still doing the woman's job of tending a flower garden. All of these manly traits did not hold her back; Steinbeck still allowed her suppressed sexuality to shine through (Pittmann 1). " A figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets (Steinbeck 1463)." Steinbeck, by allowing the dress to be seen, is showing the readers Elisa passion that long to be unbridled. The manly gloves that she wore to protect her hands show that she still wants to be a women yet long for the adventure a man's life contains. Clothing was not the only symbol of repression in John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums."
There are many symbolic references to Elisa Allen as a sexually repressed and frustrated woman. One representation of the chrysanthemum is Elisa's passion and eagerness to live and experience life a content woman. While tending her chrysanthemums "she pulled out the crisp little roots and trimmed of the leaves of each one with her scissors (Steinbeck 1464)." This is a symbolism of Elisa Allen closing off all opportunities to grow as a sexual woman; She has resigned herself to the monotonous life as a complacent farmer's wife (Lee 1). The "figured print dress (Steinbeck 1463)" under the apron shows the...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

Symbolism of the Pearl in The Pearl by John Steinbeck

660 words - 3 pages Symbolism of the Pearl in The Pearl by John Steinbeck In The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, evil transforms certain humble citizens into envious savages. It is this evil which moves the story along and adds drama. It causes the beginning of a happy spirit, but the downfall of goodness and humanity. Evil is shown by the doctor many times during the story. At first, he refuses to treat Coyotito because his parents have no money. When the

Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

3262 words - 13 pages Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Through such hardships as the Depression, the Dust Bowl summers, and trying to provide for their own families, which included the search for a safe existence, we find the story of the Joad's. The Joad's are the main family in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, which he created to give voice to the hundreds of families that found themselves at their absolute rock bottom during the

Internal Conflict In "Barn Burning" By William Faulkner And "The Chrysanthemums" By John Steinbeck

2126 words - 9 pages The works "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner and "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck at first glance may seem to have no connection, but in spite of different plot they focus on similar ideas.The story "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner discusses the inner conflict within Sartoris Snopes, a young boy who faced a dilemma. He tries to make a decision of choosing between to lieing in the court under his father's pressiure who does not want to

The incompatibilities between the couple in "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

1606 words - 6 pages In Vietnamese literature, it is not difficult to look for a work which is about women’s fate and their tragedy in life. We would be surely surprised when realizing that, in the western society along with the developmental industry, women fall into the same situation. “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck is one of the stories that contribute to sketch out that grievous picture.“The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off

Analysis of Elisa's character in the short story "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

705 words - 3 pages Quite often, the limits that bound a woman to her conventional standards are the cause of women's sufferings. The battle for equality has not come to pass because men hinder their ways. For a long time this has been accepted in society as the ways things are. John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" mirrors Elisa's frustration she feels in a masculine world, and her aspiration to enjoy the life that a true woman deserves.Elisa has to suppress her

The Birth and Death of a Modern Woman: On the Book "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

1470 words - 6 pages The Birth and Death of a Modern WomanAlthough the suffrage movement gave women equality and the women's the right to vote; it took some years for a lot of women to evolve into the woman of today. Not only did it take women a long time, but it took men longer to give up the control they had over them in the past and accept them as equal. In "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, we see the birth of Elisa Allen as a modern woman. However, her

The Pearl-John Steinbeck: How Does Steinbeck Use Symbolism To Develop His Themes In The Pearl?

1058 words - 5 pages Symbolism embodies an abstract idea or concept by using an object or character. In the parable, The Pearl, Steinbeck uses symbolism extensively to create and develop the novel's themes. The pearl of the book's title is a symbol, which develops from a paradise of hopes and dreams, to a destructive centre of evil. The key symbol of the pearl generates the theme of the destructive nature of greed throughout the book. The doctor as a symbol develops

Symbolism of the Ranch in John Steinbeck´s Of Mice and Men

1259 words - 6 pages their dreams came alive and where they ended as well. Steinbeck shows the world of nature to be beautiful and peaceful, but threatened by the actions of men. The beginning of the novel sets this pattern, as the creatures at the pool are disturbed by George and Lennie's approach ''giant sycamore there is an ash pile made by many fires; the limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it''.The ranch and it's buildings, being created by men, are in

Essay on the Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck's

811 words - 3 pages discovers an outlet for her frustration in a flower garden where she cultivates beautiful chrysanthemums; she refugies herself in her chrysanthemum, which symbolize her spirit, in other word, herself. Steinbeck uses these elegant flowers as a symbol to represent the tender, inner-self of all women, including Elisa. Because Elisa does not feel appreciated by her husband, she takes care of her chrysanthemums, symbols of how beautiful she really is and

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

1705 words - 7 pages , by John Steinbeck, the author displays multiple motifs. All these motifs have symbolism, which altogether lead to the theme of the story: good fortune, wealth, and prosperity steer even the most innocent of people towards a path of evil and corruption. The reader learns that one must recognize their priorities and not let material objects affect the practicality of which is their true priorities. Often times in the world today people become

"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck

814 words - 3 pages realisticdepictions of life, portrays this motif through Kino, the doctor, Coyotito, and the town of LaPaz. John Earnst Steinbeck, author of The Pearl and many other stories, was born onFebruary 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. Both his father, who ran a flour mill, and hismother, a teacher, encouraged him to write once they saw his early interest in literature. Steinbeck began his career by writing articles for his school newspaper and by taking classesat

Similar Essays

Symbolism In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1238 words - 5 pages Symbolism in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck "A symbol is an act, person, thing, or spectacle that stands for something else, by association a usually broader idea in addition to its own literal meaning" (Cassill & Bausch, 1728). John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" may seem as a story describing a simple day with the Allen couple. It begins with Elisa Allen working in her garden and her husband, Henry Allen, negotiating with two

"The Chrysanthemums" By John Steinbeck Essay

2879 words - 12 pages As you know, women have often been portrayed as the weaker sex when compared to men but do not ask me why. It's been like that throughout the history of mankind. As a result of these assumptions, many women have been bravely trying hard to dissociate themselves from this frame of mind and become more independent with their lives. When John Steinbeck's short story "The Chrysanthemums" first appeared in the October 1937 edition of Harper's

Elisa’s Unhappiness In The Chrysanthemums By John Steinbeck

1432 words - 6 pages John Steinbeck’s short story “The Chrysanthemums” centers on Eliza and her relationship with her husband Henry. Critic Gregory Palmerino brings light to their relationship issues. He argues: “everywhere there is conflict in ‘The Chrysanthemums,’ but nowhere is there a fight. This absence of friction prevents Henry and Elisa’s relationship from progressing, whether it be as lovers, partners or parents” (Palmerino 1). What Palmerino does not

Symbolism In John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums"

573 words - 2 pages Symbolism in John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" In "The Chrysanthemums" John Steinbeck develops a theme of limitations. The story is essentially a man in the mirror story where the rigid Elisa sees herself for the first time as trapped. Although Elisa has recognized her life as limited and confining, she sadly accepts her life as is and does nothing to rectify her situation. In John Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums" symbolism of the fence