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The Chrysanthemums Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

Although her face was described as lean and strong, and her attire was somehow "manly" , Elisa is a repress woman who desires adventure, companionship, recognition and respect for her work with her Chrysanthemums.Her troubling break down at the end of the story was a complete total submission to a world she cannot hope to change. The moment she saw the dark speck and knew it was her Chrysanthemums, the flower she nurtured, cherished and that symbolizes her gift for growing things, her feminism and that is part of her, her heart broke in thousands pieces, even though she tried to stay strong for herself and her chrysanthemums, she eventually quietly broke down and started weeping like an old woman.
Some may argue that her break down may only be temporary.For instance,in Jay Parini writing Lawrence's and Steinbeck "Chrysanthemums", he wrote that "Elisa is finally hurt by the repairman, who was merely toying with her,but she is not broken", and he went on to using Charlotte Hadella note which states that "Even though, in the end, she thinks of herself as a weak, old woman, the powerful imagery of the strong, new crop of chrysanthemums waiting for rain still dominates the story" to support his argument. Even though it is a valid argument, Elisa Allen broke down and cried like an old woman, which is a sign of total defeat, and it was well thought out and written by Victoria Price in her article "The Chrysanthemums" where she stated that "For the last critical scene of symbolism, Elisa sees her precious chrysanthemum on the ground, but without the pot it was given in. With everything that happened between the stranger and Elisa, this could be explained by simply saying,"used". She was basically fooled into giving herself away to someone who showed some interest in her. Her flower symbolizes all this and it is used throughout this story. The last sentence of this story is one that can have many meanings."She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly – like an old woman".This means that she has lost her confidence and her self-esteem to keep her head high in the air."
Elisa was constantly being put down , she had many reactions but she never showed a sign of breaking down until she did,so why is that if it's not her way of surrender. Her husband is to be partly blame for her defeat because he lacked interest in her and let her hard work go unnoticed and even when he noticed her hard work he made it clear to her that it wasn't important, due to the fact that it didn't bring money, he didn't seem to care that she enjoyed her work with her chrysanthemums and the bond she shares with them is priceless.As stated by Steinbeck in the story, after her husband made the remarks about her chrysanthemums and said to her "some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big",Elisa got defensive and stood her ground by answering him with a...

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