Character Analysis: The Chrysanthemums

Essay by sfangmeierCollege, Undergraduate October 2014

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Character Analysis: The Chrysanthemums

Sheila Fangmeier

ENG130 - Introduction to Literature

Colorado State University - Global Campus

Elizabeth Skwiot


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June 5, 2014

Character Analysis: The Chrysanthemums

"The Chrysanthemums" is a short story written by John Steinbeck. Elisa Allen is the main character and is identified as a strong woman while possessing those duties, traits and behaviors of a man. Henry, Elisa's husband refers to her as "strong and happy" (Steinbeck, 1937). Throughout Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums", Henry credits Elisa as a strong woman. Because Elisa's husband shows little interest in her, she feels the need to be accepted. Elisa makes a connection with a salesman whom she becomes acquainted with. Elisa's affections for the voyaging stranger are misinformed as a result of her prized belonging, the chrysanthemums. Elisa trusts that the stranger thinks of her as a brilliant lady yet deceives her so as to get what he needs.

Elisa reveals to her craving for freedom when she meets the stranger. In spite of the fact that Elisa is an extremely solid lady the sales representative touches an exceptionally female, delicate side of her. Elisa additionally demonstrates a concealed quality of insecurity. By treating her with compassion, the stranger changes Elisa's way of thinking, leaving Elisa confused.

In "The Chrysanthemums", Steinbeck eludes to Elisa as solid, yet a great looking lady. Why would a lady be portrayed as nice looking? The manly conduct Elisa undertakes makes her the solid yet attractive lady Steinbeck attracts her to be. Steinbeck keeps in touch with, "her face was eager and mature and handsome: even her work with scissors was over - eager, over - powerful. The chrysanthemums stems seemed too small and easy for her energy" (Steinbeck,