"The Chrysanthemums" is among 12 quick stories by man Steinbeck released in 1937 in "Harper"s Magazine" and also in 1938 in his repertoire "The lengthy Valley." Themes center on 35-year-old Elisa"s pursuit for identity and also intimacy. Elisa is passionate around chrysanthemums and also spends lot of she time caring for them. Her husband appreciates her green thumb and also praises her inner strength, yet Elisa feels emotionally disconnected native him. Their gender roles space strictly defined, and also she resents she subordinate role. A stranger ignites romantic feeling in Elisa, yet she shortly realizes the the drifter isn"t all he shows up to be.

You are watching: What is the theme of the chrysanthemums


Gender Roles

Gender inequality leader to frustration and disappointment. Before Elisa meets the drifter, she battles with her own female identity. She costume in mrs attire and is unhappy with her stereotypical mrs role. Elisa longs because that independence and equality, however she"s stuck in a male-dominated world. The drifter, a tinker, help Elisa feel bold and also liberated -- traits that guys primarily delighted in in the 1930s. However, Elisa quickly abandons she newly found freedoms once she realizes the the drifter offered her feminine emotional weakness to acquire his way.

False Flattery

Flattery is deceiving. The tinker notices Elisa"s deep attention in her flowers. He renders her feel essential by commenting on your beauty and also asks if he deserve to have part chrysanthemum stalks to extract your seeds. Elisa is captivated by the tinker"s charm and also flattery and idolizes his free-spirited lifestyle. She feeling an emotional, sexually fee connection, however the drifter only wants to manipulate Elisa"s emotions. He demands money and a job and dumps her chrysanthemums ~ above the side of the road once he it s okay 50 cents from her.

Greener Grass

The grass isn"t constantly greener. Also though Elisa"s husband offers for she financially and also compliments her physical beauty and inner strength, she is unfulfilled in her marriage. The two don"t have a romantic connection, and also Steinbeck alludes to their absence of sex-related intimacy. The drifter is passionate, sensual, understanding and eccentric, therefore Elisa is drawn to him. He provides Elisa feeling feminine and desirable, which boosts her self-worth. However, she cries when she watch the dumped chrysanthemums on the next of the road, and tries come hide she sadness and shame from she husband.

Emotional Isolation

Emotional isolation often leads to irrational behavior. Elisa has repressed she romantic feelings and also sexual desires for so lengthy that she practically throws herself at the tinker once he woos her. She"s blind to his manipulations and doesn"t realize the he"s just using her for money. Elisa doesn"t feel comfortable mentioning her absence of fulfillment through her husband -- she"d quite live in emotionally solitude. However, she dissatisfaction ultimately leads come trusting someone who doesn"t deserve she devotion.

See more: What Kind Of Car Does Ariana Grande Drive ? Ariana Grande Net Worth, House And Cars


References


The long Valley; man Steinbeck

Writer Bio


As curriculum developer and also educator, Kristine Tucker has appreciated the plethora of English assignments she's check out (and graded!) end the years. She experiences as vice-president that an power consulting firm have given her the possibility to explore service writing and also HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.


*

*