Sharing Love, Not Chrysanthemums Essay, Research Paper
Sharing Love, Not Chrysanthemums
The effects on Elisa from sharing her plants are not normal, at least compared to an ordinary gardener?s sharing of plants, in Steinbeck?s ?The Chrysanthemums.? Elisa is a sexually frustrated woman who cares for chrysanthemums in order to gain the happiness and stimulation that she doesn?t get from her husband, Henry.
After reading the beginning of the story, Elisa could be described as an unclean and unattractive woman with no real reason to care for her body. Henry just doesn?t care, so there is no sexuality between them. Steinbeck?s first words to describe her were: ?Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume.? This assumption of her looks does change, however, when Elisa talks to the tinker about her chrysanthemums.
Talking to the tinker about plants creates very lustful feelings for Elisa, which are very uncommon and unheard of to an ordinary gardener. When the tinker shows up at her house, she shows no interest in him at first. Her lack of interest in him changes, however, when he shows an interest in her plants. When Elisa begins to talk about preparing sprouts for the tinker to take to a lady down the road, she becomes very alert and eager: ?She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair.? When Elisa talks to the tinker about the care of the chrysanthemums, she is ?kneeling on the ground looking up at him. Her breast swelled passionately.? Elisa knows that the tinker is interested in her as they continually flirt with each other. Eventually she put the chrysanthemum sprouts in a pot and the tinker goes on his way.
After the tinker leaves, Elisa becomes proud of herself and her body. She takes a bath, admiring her body before and after it. She then gets all dressed up, putting on her
?newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which is the symbol of her prettiness.? Henry sees her and tells her that she looks strong and happy, Elisa agrees.
They then go out, but on the way Elisa sees her chrysanthemums on the side of the road where the tinker has thrown them, and she reflects that he has kept the pot.
It is possible that the tinker didn?t have any feelings for Elisa as a person, symbolized by the chrysanthemum sprouts growing in the pot, he only wanted her body, symbolized by the pot itself. When Elisa gave the tinker her chrysanthemums, she was actually giving him her love. Then when she saw the chrysanthemums thrown onto the road, she knew that the love between them wasn?t true.