The work begins with a look at the story's setting. "The Chrysanthemums" was written in 1938, and the story takes place roughly around the same time. It is winter in Salinas Valley, California. The most prominent feature is the "grey-flannel fog" which hid the valley "from the rest of the world" (396). The mountains and valleys and sky and fog encapsulate everything inside as a "closed pot" (396). Inside this shut-off habitat the environment is trying to change. Just as the farmers are waiting for an unlikely rain, Elisa and all woman are hopeful for a change in their enclosed lives. Steinbeck foreshadows, "It was a time of quiet and waiting" (396).
The action of the story opens with Elisa Allen working in her garden. She is surrounded by a wire fence, which physically is there to protect her flowers from the farm animals. This barrier symbolizes her life; she is fenced in from the real world, from a man's world. It is a smaller, on-earth version of the environment in which they live. This man's world is dominated by business. As Elisa works on her garden, she looks through the fence out to where her husband, Henry, is talking with two men in business suits. They look at a tractor and smoke, manly things, as they conclude their man's work. Just as their environment surrounds all persons, fences surround... [continues]
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(1999, 10). The Chrysanthemums. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Chrysanthemums-11954.html
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"The Chrysanthemums." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Chrysanthemums-11954.html.