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Research Papers on The Chrysanthemums

Research Papers on The Chrysanthemums by Steinbeck will overview the theme of the short story and look at what the flower symbolizes. Paper Masters has explicated The Chrysanthemums many times and will write you a custom written research paper much like what you see below on this short story by John Steinbeck.

John Steinbeck’s short story The Chrysanthemums contains elements of oppression and feminism, both thematically and symbolically.  Elisa Allen is a frustrated woman, stuck in a lifestyle that is dominated by a man’s world and practicality.  Her only freedom is her garden, where she is left alone with her passion for the chrysanthemums of which she is so proud.  The chrysanthemums are, in fact, symbols of the following:

  1. Elisa’s femininity
  2. Elisa's sexuality

Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums

Elisa leads a lonely life and it doesn’t seem that she has many connections with other human beings, this sets up the plot.  Aside from her husband, it appears that she keeps to herself for the most part.  When she is alone in her garden she seems to come alive.  Her spirits are heightened and she seems to be her truest self.  She has a talent for growing things and the chrysanthemums are her prized possessions.  Henry, her husband, tells her that she has a “gift for things”.   Elisa tells us that her mother had the same gift.  That gift seems to be a source of strength.  The connection she has with her garden, and more importantly the chrysanthemums in it, seems to be one of Elisa’s strongest emotions.  She tells the tinker who arrives seeking work about the garden and how she feels about it. 

The Characters of The Chrysanthemums

“I can…tell you what it feels like.  It’s when you’re picking off the buds you don’t want.  Everything goes right down to your fingertips.  You watch your fingers work.  They do it themselves.  You can feel how it is.  They pick and pick the buds.  They never make a mistake.  They’re with the plant.  Do you see? Your fingers and the plant.  You can feel that, right up to your arm.  They know”.  Elisa is passionate and excited about the chrysanthemums.

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