The Chrysanthemums

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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John Steinbeck, in "The Chrysanthemums," has his character Elisa Allen, experience epiphany. The moment that Elisa experiences epiphany is when she meets a man traveling from "Seattle to San Diego and back every year"(223). The man drives the highway trying to fix pots, pans, knives, scissors, and lawn mores. When he stops at Elisa's house, he tries to find a short cut to the Los Angles highway. When he stops he asks her if she has any work for him, she tells him no. During the conversation Elisa begins to open up to the man about her life in the garden. The man tells her that he knows a lady who has planted everything except chrysanthemums and he is sure that she will love to have some. Elisa goes to the back of the house to get the man a pot, so that he can carry the seeds to the women.

Elisa also goes to her house to get the man some saucepans to mend. Elisa watched the man mend to saucepans and asked him if "˜he slept right in the wagon"(225)? She admired that and wished that women could do things like that. The man tells her that this life is not made for a woman. Elisa stood tall as the man left and silently told him "good bye"(226). Elisa and her husband were going out to dinner that night; she went inside of the house to get ready. When her husband went to get the car, he remarked that his wife "looked so nice"(226). Elisa didn't understand what he meant by that, so he implied that she "looked different, strong and happy"(226). She told herself that she was strong and never knew that she was. Elisa was a different person; she was interested in her husband's...