Chrysanthemum's Essay

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Elisa’s Point of View
In the short story, “The Chrysanthemums” John Steinbeck tells the story of Elisa Allen living on a ranch in the Salinas Valley with her husband Henry. Elisa is a thirty-five year-old house wife that takes pride in growing chrysanthemums. One day while cutting down last year’s chrysanthemums her husband tells her that he has just sold thirty cattle and is going to take her out to dinner and a movie. After that, a traveling tinker stops by her house and offers to fix any pots or sharpen any knives. After a conversation with the tinker, Elisa figures out for herself that she doesn’t get to express herself very much. Elisa eventually finds something for the tinker to fix and even gives him a chrysanthemum plant for one of his other customers. She later sees that the tinker threw the plant out and that she is unsatisfied with her marriage. “The Chrysanthemums” is told in the third person point of view, but the narration is presented almost entirely from Elisa’s point of view forcing us to try and understand Elisa just as the other characters in the story do. After the opening that sets the stage, Steinbeck refuses to stray from Elisa. We are put in her shoes from that point on. For example, when the tinker rides up in his worn out wagon, Elisa describes the tinker as handsome. Most people would not describe traveling salesman of that time period to be handsome. We know that Elisa is married leading us to believe that with her description of the tinker that she is unhappy with her marriage. Elisa later on in the story even flirts with the tinker which is again more evidence that she is unhappy with her marriage or current situation. “The Chrysanthemums” is written in third person with a woman’s point of view. When this story was written, women weren’t able to be as successful as men. Women of that time period were limited to cooking, gardening, and taking care of children instead of making money. Elisa is nifty, enthusiastic, attractive, and...
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