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The Chrysanthemums by Steinbeck
Transcript of The Chrysanthemums by Steinbeck
"John Steinbeck." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 22 Feb. 2012.
Galens, David. Short Stories For Student. Farmington Hills: The Gale Group, 2002. The Chrysanthemums. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. <http://iblog.stjschool.org/stories/files/2007/06/The_Chrysanthemums_eNotes.pdf>.
Kassim, Elizabeth. “Symbolism in ‘The Chrysanthemums’.” Lone Star. Lone Star College System. Web. 22 Feb. 2012. <http://www.lonestar.edu/symbolism-chrysanthemums.htm>.
1902-1968 Feminism Background Modernism Symbolism Themes Style 1902-1968
born in Salinas, California- rural area
family: 3 sisters, strong mother, quiet father
encouraged love for literature
worked as a laborer
Stanford College- studied biology
naturalism influence Early Life Later Life Pulitzer Prize (1940)
Nobel Prize for literature
extreme political views
died in 1968 Beginning of 20th century
Rapidly changing technology and WW I
Old traditions become out-dated Philosophers such as Sigmund Freud and Ernst Mach
Abstract and unconventional
Unconscious mind = primal impulses + self-imposed restrictions
Explain irrational thought processes through rationality and holism Imagery
3rd Person POV The Conclusion: Elisa “[Elisa’s] sense of strength comes from her encounter with the man, from the sexually charged moment they shared over their appreciation of the chrysanthemums and the wandering life …When she sees she has been betrayed, by the man and by her romantic ideas, she feels limited again. Although the narrator, Henry, and Elisa have all praised her for her strength, she is not strong enough to overcome her limitations, and she breaks down in weak tears ‘like an old woman’” (Galens 4). “Could it be that instead of shedding frustrated tears of impotence, Elisa Allen cries because she pities man? Among all other characters in the story, she alone, as Plato would say, has left the cave and seen the light? She does not cry because life is unfair to her; on the contrary, she cries because despite her effort to elevate her peers, they continue wasting their lives discarding that of value and seeking honors as hollow as an empty flower pot” (Hunt 2). Limitation and Opportunity: Elisa confined
The fog "sat like a lid on the mountains and made the valley look like a closed pot" (Steinbeck 1)
Elisa's realization: "I'm strong, I never knew how strong" (Steinbeck 8).
freedom and strength Beauty Elisa appreciates beauty of flowers, Henry admires their size
"Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I whish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big" (Steinbeck 3).
Repairman seems to appreciate flowers
deceived her- tosses out flowers and keeps pot Ratatoullie Modern Day Connections The Princess Diaries The Princess
the Frog Maid in Manhattan Flowers Appearance Misc. Chrysanthemums Geraniums Colors Are Important! Yellow means friendship; love is not returned Red means passion and energy White means beauty "Behind her stood the neat white farmhouse with red geraniums close-banked around it as high as the windows" (Steinbeck 1). Elisa and her actions are described as
with eyes "as clear as water" "gray-flannel fog" gray implies lack of movement and willingness to comply Fun Fact: Salinas Valley, California setting of several of Steinbeck's works, including "East of Eaden" and "Of Mice and Men" "closed off... from all the rest of the world" (Steinbeck1). Flowers represent Elisa herself
She offers them to the tinker, but his rejection of them eqates to his rejection of Elisa. Red geraniums symbolize Elisa's desire for passion in her relationship
Her home is surrounded by geraniums, flowers that represent friendship. She has grown red flowers, the color of passion, trying to hint to Henry that she wants a more intimate relationship with him. However, Henry only notices the yellow chrysanthemums, which shows that he is content with more of a friendly reltionship with his wife. “The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa's role as a woman. First they symbolize her children; later they represent her femininity and sexuality. Elisa feels frustrated with her life because children and romance are missing in her marriage with Henry” (Kassim). Galens also interprets Elisa’s Chrysanthemums as symbols of her “artistic sensibility… through her connections to her husband." He believes “It is also possible… and useful to look at the flowers as literal flowers, as signs of Elisa’s connection with the natural world” (Galens 8). GAME TIME! What do you think? Elisa puts on her "newest underclothing", "nicest stockings', and "the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness" Elisa begins to feel like she needs to dress up for society "Why--why, Elisa. You look so nice!"
"Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by nice?" (Steinbeck 5). Elisa feels that she needs to dress prettily in order for Henry to notice her, but her reply when he comments shows that she doesn't really want to act like this. Henry means "home ruler" Interesting because he does indeed rule the farm; he decides what people will do and when they will do it. He also rules Elisa, whether he intends to oppress her or not Mulan Other Stories: Ratatoullie The Great Depression "The Grapes of Wrath" (1939) "The Moon is Down" (1942) WWII "Of Mice and Men" (1937)
Migrant Workers Family "East of Eden" (1952) "Tortilla Flat"(1935) Migrant Workers Sarah Palin