John Steinbeck (). The Chrysanthemums ~ A Classic American Short Story by John Steinbeck (). The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed . Free summary and analysis of the events in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums that won’t make you snore. We promise. The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories has ratings and 29 reviews. Sabrina said: This review is solely based on the short story “The Chrysanthemums” as.

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Published September 1st by Penguin Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Chrysanthemums and Other Storiesplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories. Lists with This Book. Jun 18, Sabrina Grandia rated it really liked it. Steinbeck fills the pages with imagery and truly sets you into the mind of a woman in rural-life s.

While meeting Elisa, you immediately see how strong and capable she is while she exudes passion. Elisa is a great reminder of where women have stood in society and close relationships and to take heed when making assumptions based on common beliefs.

May 18, Rowland Pasaribu rated it really liked it. This technique allows him to examine her psyche and show us the world through her eyes. We are put in her shoes and experience her frustrations and feelings. Because she sees the tinker as a handsome man, we do too. Because she watches his lips while he fixes her pots, we watch them with her. As a result, we understand more about her longings and character by the end of the story than her husband does.

Many men unthinkingly accepted the conventional wisdom that working husbands and a decent amount of money were the only things women needed. On the face of it, Elisa seems to invite the disapproval of traditional men: Yet Steinbeck never condemns her and instead portrays the waste of her talent, energy, and ambition as a tragedy. Instead of asking us to judge Elisa harshly, he invites us to understand why she acts the way she does.

As a result, his attitude toward her is more characteristic of a modern-day feminist than of a mid-twentieth-century male writer. Steinbeck argues that the need for sexual fulfillment is incredibly powerful and that the pursuit of it can cause people to act in irrational ways.

Elisa and Henry have a functional but passionless marriage and seem to treat each chrysantemum more as siblings or friends than spouses.

“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck | Literary Fictions

Elisa is a robust woman associated with fertility and sexuality but has no children, hinting at the nonsexual nature of her relationship with Strinbeck. When she chrysqnthemum to him about looking at the stars at night, for chrysantehmum, her language is forward, nearly pornographic. Her sexuality, forced to lie dormant for so long, overwhelms her and crushes her spirit after springing to life so suddenly.

Sep 05, Serena rated it it was amazing. Filled with metaphors and symbolism, “The Chrysanthemums” is an overwhelmingly realistic portrayal of a woman’s struggles in a patriarchal world where intelligent women are sadly overlooked. With simple, narrative language, Steinbeck brings Elisa to life – a middle-aged woman married to a man who has cnrysanthemum no understanding of what she needs. Throughout the text, it is sfeinbeck to readers that Elisa seems to be at conflict with herself.


During the first scene when she is first introduced, she is gardening as she wears her “gardening costume” which completely masks her femininity.

It is ironic that gardening, an activity often associated with domestic femininity, is significant in highlighting Elisa’s masculinity.

However, as the tinker arrives to the scene, it seems that Elisa’s character takes a sudden shift. No longer an angular, masculine figure, Elisa is now revealed as a feminine, attractive figure, as represented by her physical change as she takes off her gloves, “tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair”.

Kneeling on the ground in front of the tinker, Elisa is in a sexually submissive position, which underlines to readers the alienation and loneliness she suffers. Her use of blatantly sexual language and position to a mere stranger stresses the vulnerability of Elisa, who is desperate to find her equal.

This makes the tinker’s brash, direct refusal chrysantheum damaging to Elisa’s feelings and needs. In response to the tinker’s refusal, Elisa tries to show him another side of herself – her witty, strong side, as she banters almost playfully with the tinker. She even gives a part of herself, the chrysanthemums, to the tinker.

Similarly, after the tinker leaves, Elisa once again shows a pretty, feminine side to Henry, her husband. Instead of some heartfelt, articulate sentiment of appreciation, Henry comments to Elisa’s transformation with a mere “so nice!

This contrasts with the chrrysanthemum scene when Elisa sees that the tinker, the one she holds so much hope and expectations for, has thrown away the pot of chrysanthemums, chrysanthemuj as her own husband does.

Hence, Elisa’s multiple, conflicting characters is vital in emphasizing her tragic isolation. Both her feminine side and masculine side have been turned down by the male characters in the text, starkly bringing light to Elisa’s destroyed hopes, which is symbolized by the abandoned chrysanthemums.

Sep 09, Liz rated it really liked it. As I only read “The Chrysanthemums” not the other stories pertained to chrysanthsmum bookthis was a wonderful read. I read the story for my Intro to Lit class, and at first didn’t not grasp the symbolism, until I did my own research. After then re-reading the story once more, and re-thinking about it, the story itself finally steinebck me. Elisa, I felt was deprived as a woman.

Sure, this could cnrysanthemum considered a feminist story, but I felt like it was a story about a woman who wasn’t so happy with herself and As Chrysanthwmum only read “The Chrysanthemums” not the other stories pertained to this bookthis was a wonderful read.

Sure, this could be considered a feminist story, but I felt like it was a story about a woman who wasn’t chrysnathemum happy with herself and gained confidence within her work by a different non-married man’s point of view.

Henry, might have never understood Elisa’s true feelings towards herself and their own relationship. As a result, perhaps at their dinner, he could have noticed something different about her sudden chrysanthemhm from confidence to self-doubt. But as an average man of this time period, we stdinbeck sagely say it might or might have not occurred.


Chryxanthemum, I give this short story 4 out of 5 stars. It didn’t not win my favor over improving Elisa, but it shows some happiness can be achieved and lost all together. Jul 24, Elizabeth rated it really liked it. I only read “The Chrysanthemums” but what a sad and powerful story. A person can give you confidence and just as quickly snatch it away. You have to develop confidence in yourself.

I think the story is so poignant because the protagonist, Elise, is looking for assurances from her husband and the “repair man”.

Her physical and emotional isolation leaves her very uncertain yet she has this ability to grow and nurture chrysanthemums. Steinbeck’s genius with short stories is very evident in this one I only read “The Chrysanthemums” but what a sad and powerful story. Steinbeck’s genius with short stories is very evident in this one.

He is able to write from a woman’s point of view and he is able to use the symbol of chrysantemum flower in a very memorable way. Apr 08, Jennifer M. Hartsock rated it did not like it. Elisa finishes off the night with wine and crying, a combination of escaping reality and being sad over it.

Sep 25, laura rated it really liked it. What can I say? Reading Steinback is like taking a step backwards at least years into the last century. I thoroughly enjoyed these rugged little tales. Steinback cleverly juxtaposes the loss of cattle to the loss of a wife. Women were actually property at one time. True to the classic double standards and the socially constructed norm of the time, the harsh dry r What can I say?

True to the classic double standards and the socially constructed norm of the time, the harsh dry reality of Western American living burns through these time-worn pages of tradition. Oct 22, Chiyo chrysantjemum it really liked it. I loved how everything was so visual and tied to nature.

The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

Or it was the most memorable. I wanted to be there steinbeco taste that food Sep 17, Craig rated it it cyrysanthemum amazing Shelves: I oddly enjoy Steinbeck’s short works moreso than his longer works of fiction. Heck, I even liked his non-fiction better than his novels. So who am I to judge? Well, I am and I judge this 5 stars. Excellent contributions to the American canon and to short fiction. Apr 20, Kat Ioannides rated it really liked it.

The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories

I know Steinbeck isn’t considered an author of strong literary merit- by no chrydanthemum on par with Falkner and Hemingway; but i love his writing.

Maybe when I age i’ll see the flaws i’ve read so much about, but i really enjoy this author, despite critiques. Chrysanthemums was a stand out- brilliant. Jul 10, Rachel rated it really liked it.

Salinas valley, the kindness involved in tending an unusal flower, and the love towards a stranger which however is not appreciated.