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Paper Topic:

Literary Analysis - The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck 's short story `The Chrysanthemums ' is one of the most critically acclaimed short stories ever . Elisa Allen is a middle-aged strong but handsome woman working at her husband 's ranch . And surprisingly , not once does she complain , or show any kind of regrets with her lifestyle . But from Steinbeck 's writing , it is obvious that her life is stifling . John Ditsky called the story one of the finest American stories ever written ' John H . Timmerman regarded the story as one of Steinbeck 's masterpieces ' adding that stylistically and thematically , `The

Chrysanthemums ' is a superb piece of compelling craftsmanship ' According to Mordecai Marcus the story seems almost perfect in form and style [2]

Steinbeck 's masterpiece is about Elisa , her creative genius , her female sexuality and oppression . In fact , many believe the story is a proponent of feminism . Elisa Allen watches men come and go while she works hard at her farm . She has a natural gift , of having a planter 's hands ' which know how to yield flowers and plants perfectly . Here at her little farm , she works diligently , growing the best and the tallest chrysanthemums and geraniums . One day , while working , a caravan arrives at her farm . The man in the caravan mends pots and pans , and asks her for directions . In the few minutes that they spend together , Steinbeck reveals a lot about Elisa and her distraught life . She talks to the tinker , disinterested , but the moment he mentions chrysanthemums , her mood changes to that of exuberance . The tinker leaves Elisa is left in an awkward and embarrassed situation . Later , she and her husband go out for dinner , and on their way , Elisa sees the chrysanthemums she had given to the tinker thrown at the side of the road . Elisa cries lightly unbeknownst to her husband , and the story comes to an end . The chrysanthemums have been interpreted as symbols of Elisa 's sexuality , or childlessness , or artistic sensibility[4]

Steinbeck uses many different literary devices to drive his plot , and to keep the reader captivated . One of the first and fore-most devices is the plot . Even though there is no obvious drama or tragedy , Steinbeck 's story is hauntingly close to life . Another device that Steinbeck uses is his simple , elegant style . The story is written in a deceptively easy language . Another factor is the pace at which the story moves . It moves fast , so as not to exhaust the reader . In fact , the time is so well-managed that it leaves the reader with a strong underlying impact at the right time . Steinbeck also uses the tool of detailed not just to describe Elisa and her surroundings he uses s to symbolize her life . From the very beginning , we discover that the place is cold and quiet . In the very first line , Steinbeck describes Elisa 's isolation - The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world [1] ' In the same paragraph , he...

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