Short Paper 1
Symbolism in the Chrysanthemums
In The Chrysanthemums a short story by John Steinbeck, symbolism is the language utilized for theauthor to describe the main character’s (Elisa Allen) thoughts and feelings such as unhappiness and indifference by her husband (Henry Allen). She cultivates a likeness of herself through herchrysanthemum garden, making the chrysanthemums an extension of her.
Elisa is a lonely farmer’s wife who never has enough attention or any kind of affection by her husband because he is always working intheir farm. She is always dedicated to her garden and especially to her chrysanthemums. This fact motivates Steinbeck to describe his main character as follows: “She was thirty-five. Her face was leanand strong and her eyes were as clear as water. Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clodhopper shoes, a figured print dressalmost completely covered by a big corduroy apron” (192-193). The little interest of her husband toward her has made that Elisa turns all her attention to her yellow and white chrysanthemums trying toreflect herself in them. In other words, through her flowers she tries to be a different person, a happy, energetic radiant and beautiful woman, exactly as the yellow chrysanthemums symbolize. Thisidea can be supported by the next article written by Martha Benitez which says, “The flower’s color not only affects their visual aspect, but is laden with symbolism and enters the world of language. Theyellow color of chrysanthemums symbolizes the sun, heat and represents joy, happiness, intelligence and energy”. As well, in some countries the chrysanthemums represent death and moaning, and Elisa’sfeelings of sadness provoked by her husband’s ingratitude and indifference could be supported by what David Richardson mentions in his article, “Also, the chrysanthemums are symbol of death and...