AP English Literature and Composition The Chrysanthemums John Steinbeck The third person point of view helps set up Elisa’s initial perception of the world, one that includes the submissive role of women and their dismal role in anything work related.
The symbolism, when combined with the point of view, is what brings out the best of Elisa and makes her realize that the things she does in life are not for other people to look down upon, but instead for people to bask in their glory as they provide nothing else but total sanctity, aloofness, and amazement, but there are still factors in the society that do not allow for such dreams to come true. The initial detailed description of Elisa in the beginning of the story shows a very covered and repressed woman who is focused on her chrysanthemums.Order now
Her appearance “looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man’s black hat pulled low down over her eyes”. Although Elisa is doing something that she enjoys, she keeps to herself as she sees her “husband talking to two men in business suits. ” This scenario shows that men took care of business while women tended to the more petty of things. This third person point of view sets up this exact perception of the world that Elisa holds and is further revealed through the symbolism in the story.
It is obvious from the story that the daisies that Elisa plants and grow offer her a haven from the world and when they are praised, she turns into the happiest soul in the world, “’What’s them plants ma’am? ’ The irritation and resistance melted away from Elisa’s face. ” Furthermore, when speaking about her flowers, Elisa feels a freedom that would have otherwise been oppressed. “She took off the battered hat and shook out her pretty dark hair. ” The flowers represent a source of isolation from the rest of the world and all its struggles.
Also, the flowers bring upon hope and comfort along sometimes hazardous roads. “That’s a bright direction. There’s a glowing there” When the blacksmith and Elisa both share the feeling of doing something with passion, she wonders if she, a woman, can truly live while freely expressing her passion for flowers. After the blacksmith states that this “life”, life symbolizing the “hot and sharp and-lovely. ” ability to live off of things of passion, does not suit a woman, Elisa “raised” her upper lip in scorn and in disillusionment.
The lonely life that the blacksmith speaks about is lonely only for the fact that hardly anyone works and makes a living doing something that they truly admire and are happy doing so. He says that it’s a “scary life” “with animals creeping up under the wagon all night” because the wagon, or the passion, is constantly at harm from the animals that are people bent to society’s standards, people that Elisa know to be hindering her capabilities to live a life very much so similar to that of the blacksmith, speaking in symbolic terms.
These flowers are so powerful and meaningful to Elisa that even in the direction in which the blacksmith had moved, although it was already getting late, there was still the tender yellow glow of “a thin band of sunshine” clearly regarding the yellow chrysanthemums she had given the wondering worker. Towards the end, Elisa slips back into reality as she goes out with her husband. Her decision to look away from the blacksmith as she was passing him completed the process.
She does try to go back to her own little haven, but with little result. The wine and the fights represent a source of adventure for Elisa. She sees them as vehicles of excitement and forbidden ecstasy. The wine, apart from the original adventure is also a symbol of maturity and culture and when Elisa realizes that she can only stay stuck with the wine, she cries. She cries for the fact that she knows her life is coming to an end although she is just but thirty-five years of age and her oppression will never be compromised.