The Chrysanthemums

Topics: John Steinbeck, Great Depression, Salinas Valley Pages: 3 (1190 words) Published: April 1, 2013
The Chrysanthemums

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 to John Ernst Steinbeck and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. He was raised in the small rural town of Salinas Valley California. During his summer breaks John worked on nearby ranches and when he got older with the migrant workers on a neighbor's ranch. While working on the ranches and with the migrant workers he noticed firsthand how hard life can be. From his work experience on the ranches and working the migrant workers and seeing what’s going on around him he was able to write some of Americans best novels, for example “Of Mice and Men” (1937),”The Grapes of Wrath” (1939), and “The Forgotten Village” (1941).(biographybase.com)

The story “The Chrysanthemums” takes place in John Steinbeck’s home town of Salinas Valley, California. It takes place close to the end of the great depression (1937-1938). The main charters are Elisa Allen, Elisa yellow chrysanthemums, a tinker (a sales person/ swindler), and Henry Allen (Elisa husband). Henry is a cattle rancher. Elisa is a stay at home wife who tends to her garden of chrysanthemums. Some say that the character of Elisa is based off of John’s first wife Carol Henning, who stayed home and took care of John’s mother when she got sick and took care of the house chores. Then we have the a tinker (a sales person/ swindler) who’s main goal is to take people’s money or talk people out of their possessions.

The story opens at the Allen ranch. Henry is talking with two guys, who he is trying to sell his cattle to them for a good price. Elisa is in her garden tending to her chrysanthemums (her babies). After Henry and the two guys come to an agreement Henry comes up to the fence and comments about how nice her chrysanthemums look. Elisa then states that her mother also has the same gift with gardening. Henry then suggests they go out to dinner. Elisa agrees then Henry jokingly mentions going to the fights. Once Henry goes back to work on gathering up the cattle...
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