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The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck



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Published by Abdussalam
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Published by: Abdussalam on Jun 20, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck 
The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck is about a frustrated woman Elisa who feels a strongsense of feminism and loneliness in her life. She seems to be oppressed by a male-driven society.The title itself depicts as a symbol of the nature of Elisa. It is a story about a marriage which hasits limitations. This story gained popularity among the critics and different opinions and viewswere commented on it. According to John Ditsky, the story was "one of the finest Americanstories ever written". John H. Timmerman termed the story as "one of Steinbeck's masterpieces".He further added that "stylistically and thematically, 'The Chrysanthemums' is a superb piece of compelling craftsmanship." While there were critics who praised his story in terms of symbolismand found his story meaningful, there were others who regarded his work as "annoyingly arty,muddy and unreal".It felt like this story was a result of John Steinbeck's inner frustration and loneliness that heexperienced in his life. John Steinbeck has used a number of literary words to symbolize thenature of Elisa. Elisa seems to be a lonely woman who finds more joy and fulfillment ingardening than she does in her marital life. The flowers have been used to symbolize Elisa's softand delicate character. The author compares Elisa'a character with the Chrysanthemums who both have a strong and rough exterior but deep inside have a compelling sense of beauty. TheChrysanthemums represent her repressed feelings and desires. She feels deeply concerned abouther flowers and symbolically speaking, she needs her internal beauty to blossom. John Steinbeck mentions Elisa's face as "lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water" (246). By thissentence, he wishes to describe the hardworking nature of Elisa as well as the softness andkindness of her soul. She tries to define her role as a woman through gardening and attempts toshow off her power in a male-dominated society. While she works in the garden, the author usesa number of different words to symbolize her barriers in life. John uses the word "fence" to

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