Attention Leads To Confidence In The Chrysanthemums

1082 words - 5 pages

Women, always have and always will love receiving attention; especially when that attention is from a male because girls just like feeling special above all else. In The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck, Elisa Allen likes this recognition as well. However, her husband Henry is selfish and too occupied to deal with Elisa and this makes her feel unimportant. Later on, when the man on the wagon arrives at the ranch Elisa and her chrysanthemums find the respect that every woman hopes to secure. Nonetheless, that respect given to Elisa was brief since the man discards her confidence and her chrysanthemums on the road. Therefore, it is clearly evident that the amount of notice bestowed to ...view middle of the document...

When the bearded man shows interest in Elisa’s chrysanthemums, Elisa feels appreciated, and confident as a woman. Upon arriving, the man irritates Elisa very strongly up until the moment where the chrysanthemums are noticed and the man takes a sudden interest in them. At that time, Elisa is no longer irritated because her chrysanthemums have finally been discovered. Elisa feels much appreciated by the man and proceeds by “[tearing] off the battered hat and [shaking] out her dark pretty hair” (Steinbeck 273). By shaking out her hair, Elisa is exposing her beauty and making herself available to the man. Notice, that when Henry is around; Elisa keeps the hat on, and wears masculine clothing. This indicates a significant change in Elisa’s feminine spirit with the catalyst being the man. Elisa is receiving attention from the man, attention that Mrs. Allen has been awaiting for from Henry for a very long time. The man is able to enter into her garden, because there is no imminent threat to Elisa’s confidence, joy and beauty. This symbolises how the protagonist wants to be with the man, because Elisa allows this man near her precious chrysanthemums. Elisa wants to join the man on his journey and Elisa wants the man to watch over her carefully. This is depicted when “She held the flower pot out to him and placed it gently in his arms. ‘Here. Put it in your wagon, on the seat, where you can watch it’” (Steinbeck 275). Because the chrysanthemums are Elisa, herself, symbolically it could be said that Elisa wants the man to care for her.
Finally, all the fortitude gained by Elisa through the recognition given to her chrysanthemums is dismantled after passing by the discarded flowers on the road. Elisa is extremely disappointed and feels used because the man did not even have the courtesy of disposing the flowers properly. Elisa’s grief is shown when “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much” (Steinbeck 277). The man simply showed an interest in the flowers to guilt her into giving him...

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