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January 22, 2013

Stopping to Smell the Flowers in Steinbeck's “The Chrysanthemums”


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Class,

In the comment box below, . . .

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

~Dr. Hobbs

_____________________________________

To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Literature, please click HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at January 22, 2013 06:28 PM

Readers' Comments:

Josh Green
Professor Hobbs
Eng 122 CA17
2/1/09
Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums.” A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader: Literature Ed. Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person 2005

Character: The Chrysanthemums
In Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums, I found that Mrs. Elisa Allen of the Salinas Valley was quite an interesting character. The story starts with Elisa, a thirty-five year old woman, in her garden cutting down the old year’s chrysanthemum stalks with a short pair of scissors. Steinbeck described her as a seemingly strong woman. “Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.” (Steinbeck 24-25) After a brief encounter with her husband, Elisa’s character seemed to be underrated or disrespected by her husband. In a way she seemed lonely and starving for attention but she didn’t show it.
During her garden work, Elisa encounters a man in an old spring wagon. At first Elisa seemed pestered or annoyed by the old man, who was persistent in asking for work. When he asked if she had any pots or knives to fix up she was short with the man and tried to point him on his way. “The man’s face fell to an exaggerated sadness,” Elisa became irritable, but when the old man mentioned her prized chrysanthemums she lit up like the sun. Her mood suddenly changed from irritated to alive. She explains her process of gardening very vividly describing her hands, “They do it themselves. You can feel how it is. They pick and pick the buds. They never make a mistake. You can feel it. When you’re like that you can’t do anything wrong. Do you see that? Can you understand that? She was kneeling on the ground looking up at him. Her breast swelled passionately. (pg29) For that moment she felt important, her loneliness was broken and she was finally given attention. “Elisa’s voice grew husky. She broke in on him. “I’ve never lived as you do, but I know what you mean. When the night is dark- why, the stars are sharp-pointed, and there’s quiet. Why, you rise up and up! Every pointed star gets driven into your body. It’s like that. Hot and sharp and lovely.” (pg30)
The man went on his way and Elisa was alone yet again. Her character seemed to be a lonely one, even oppressed. She was willing to open up her heart to the old man but she would never show her weakness to her husband. Her spirit seemed to be broken with her dull life but he would remain unaware to her sadness. “Her face turned away from him. “It will be enough if we can have wine. It will be plenty.” She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly- like and old woman.” (pg33)

Posted by: Josh Green at February 2, 2009 11:28 PM

Sonia Perez
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Academic Writing 2 Eng 122 CA16
10 February 2009

Point of View of “The Chrysanthemums”

John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” is in dramatic point of view throughout the
story. Edgar Roberts says, “The narrator of the dramatic point of view is an unidentified speaker
who reports things…a fly on the wall” (83). The unidentified speaker tells the readers about the
occupants in Henry Allen’s ranch, but the narrator’s view of one character is most apparent to the reader.
Throughout Steinbeck’s short story, it seems that the point of view is mostly about Elisa. From the beginning, Elisa is very proud of her chrysanthemums. The narrator sees Elisa in her garden speaking to her husband, Henry, about the flowers. “Yes. They’ll be strong this coming year. In her tone and on her face there was a little smugness” (Steinbeck 25). Elisa is an expert when it comes to chrysanthemums. After Henry leaves, a man comes by to get directions to Los Angeles highway and to see if Elisa needs anything to be fixed. Seeing that she gets defensive about not needing anything to be fixed, the man switches tactics asking her about the
chrysanthemums because he realizes Elisa is very passionate about her flowers; they are her children.
Elisa is trying to explain about the budding for the plant since the man wants to take
the sprouts to a woman, who wants chrysanthemums for her flower garden. Elisa is emotional
while trying to explain to the man about the budding. Once the man leaves, Elisa runs into the house to get ready for dinner at a restaurant with Henry. “And then she scrubbed herself with a little block of pumice…until her skin was scratched and red” (Steinbeck 31). She is giving
herself new skin since she feels like a new person; she realizes there is more to life after speaking with the man. From this point, it appears that she is trying to rid herself of her desire for the man since she is married to Henry. She is guilty about her feelings for the man so she dresses nicely for dinner and turns completely around to face Henry, so she will not see the man when they pass him going to the restaurant.
Henry finishes with the shower and goes outside, where he notices that Elisa looks very
nice. Elisa starts asking him what he means by nice and he answers “strong and happy”. She
also asks what he means by strong, “You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee,
happy enough to eat it like a watermelon” (Steinbeck 32). Henry sees the change in Elisa. She does not like the answer. In fact she is offended by Henry saying that to her, because he thinks that Elisa is all about the chrysanthemums. At this point she does not seem happy with him as a husband. During the ride to the restaurant, Elisa asks about the men in the fights and if they hurt each other because she read that there is a lot of blood involved. “What’s the matter, Elisa? I didn’t know you read things like that” (Steinbeck 33). Henry is surprised that she knows anything about that, too.
The narrator in “The Chrysanthemums” is definitely a fly on the wall in this story. This
person mentions every action and what is said between the characters in the garden, the house,
and the car. Steinbeck did the dramatic point of view; it is a great angle for this story. The
narrator suggests in subtle insights that Elisa is a static character, yet she changes in one instanceto dynamic in the story.

Works Citied
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 83.
Steinbeck, John. Literature: A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. 24-33.

Posted by: Sonia P. at February 9, 2009 04:21 PM

Chris Collier
ENG122 Academic Writing II
Dr. Hobbs
February 24, 2009
The Great Depression in the Chrysanthemums
The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck is a story that is set in the Salinas Valley. Most of the setting is described on the first page of the story. (Balkin, 24) It is winter in the Salinas Valley, which is described as being all black grey and cracked; it is also mid-December. The surrounding areas are mostly pastoral. Later in the story though, signs of the time period, the Great Depression, John Steinbeck’s use of these settings are a part of the overall plot and circumstances his characters are in. They are meant to show desperation and to add emphasis to the hard times that were felt around them.
The old man that appears in the story is just another representative of the difficult times that people were under. He apparently has no real job other than a craftsman, which in today’s culture having a skilled craftsman is slightly uncommon to most of society, at least in the United States. The main character, Elisa Allen, tried to do what many of the people during that time had to do: turn down people looking for work. The setting is a farmland, the places that were usually hit the hardest, although it does not appear that the Allen family is under extreme hard times. Although they most likely have more than others, these things are put into the plot by way of the interactions between the old man and Mrs. Allen. What eventually happens, is Mrs. Allen’s trust is betrayed by the old man who said all he could to get something that was worth money, Mrs. Allen’s chrysanthemums.

Works Cited
Steinback, John. "The Chrysanthemums." Balkun, Mary. A Prentice Hall Pocket Read, Literature. 2005. 24.

Posted by: Chris Collier at February 24, 2009 02:32 AM

Alicia Roddenberg
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA16
02-26-09
Elisa’s Hardship in John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”
In “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck there are many repeating themes and opinions that may not be noticeable at first read. The descriptions of the characters surrounds, the manner in which Elisa presents herself, and the interaction of Elisa and the handyman are all different concepts to be dissected. The reoccurring theme in general in this short story is the limitations placed on Elisa and the condescending demeanor in which she is treated.
With the introduction of the story the narrator paints a picture of the landscape. “The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from the rest of the world” (Steinbeck 24). Though this may only have been used to set the atmosphere, it shows the reader to see how trapped Elisa is without her own knowledge. As Henry, Elisa’s husband, talks about her chrysanthemums she suggests working in the orchard, her request is immediately ignored as if the idea of a woman in the orchard were completely out of the question.
Elisa Allen whom is a woman of thirty-five is described as a character with strength internally as well as externally. A great question to ask when trying to discover theme is “What value or values are embodied in the idea” (Roberts 124). The portrayal of Elisa demonstrates that women in this time were not equal to men, that they were expected to be sheltered. She is wearing a man’s hat and heavy gardening gloves. Her gardening costume gives her a boxed male presence. Though as a woman she is expected to have feminine qualities, Elisa is separate from that stereotype.
When the Handyman enters the story, you are able to begin to form opinions of him and a background. After a few short words exchanged Elisa allows for herself to be vulnerable by commenting “that sounds like a nice kind of a way to live” (Steinbeck 27). The arrival of the stranger creates an escape for the things Elisa wishes to happen to be able to be acknowledged. This idea is represented well through the dialogue between the characters as well as what the narrator explains in more detail to the reader.
Though the short story “The Chrysanthemums” is short in length and is told over a course of nearly an hour or so, there are many ideas and concepts pinpointed. The most intense would be the appreciation or lack of for females as well as the dominance of females in this time period and region. This concept may be perceived in a positive or negative light depending upon the reader’s position on this topic. The idea is present from the first sentence of the story till the very last, which leaves an overall impression on the reader.

Works Cited
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. Brief 11th ed. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson,
2006. Pages 119-28.
Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums”. A Prentice Hall pocket reader Literature.
edited by Mary McAleer Balkun. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. Pages 24-33

Posted by: Alicia Roddenberg at March 2, 2009 10:39 PM

Chris Lavie
Dr Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
11 February 2013

QUESTION 10: What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

ANSWER: Maybe Elisa felt ashamed to no be dressed properly as a woman; it could be the reason of her reaction. We can see that Elisa is dressing up, and it looks like it was the first time. Even Henry looks surprised; page 9:” "I don't know. I mean you look different, strong and happy”.

Posted by: Chris Lavie at February 11, 2013 10:09 PM

Christopher Burke
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II

Question: Jay Parini writes that “The Chrysanthemums” opens “with a personified landscape, a paysage moralise in which the weather and geographical setting are deeply symbolic” Examine the exposition of the story to identify the details of the imagery of the weather and the geographical setting. Then, discuss how Steinbeck’s description helps to reinforce the major themes of the story and what it reveals about the characters in the story. For example, comment on what the following would stand for: fog, rain, clouds. In what way does the setting of the story foreshadow what follows?

Answer: The story is set in the Salinas Valley, California which is a symbol for Elisa’s life. The metaphor used is suggested as “a closed pot”. The fog, rain and clouds are a doldrums’ feeling and foreshadow Elisa lame life. Although she shows that she is capable in many aspects, she is often ignored. The fog also gives the feeling of a thick atmosphere, suffocation, the suffocation of not being able to travel the world which she also has aspirations for.

Posted by: Christopher Burke at February 11, 2013 10:21 PM

Rannell Smith
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA05
12 February 2013

Question: What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?

Answer: In the story "The Chrysanthemum", the expression "planting hands" is referred to a way of gardening. Elisa's fingers know exactly what to do by themselves. In addition, "planting hands" is a natural skill some individuals are privileged to be born with. Furthermore, the fingers work like a programmed machines, picking off one dead bud at a time. "They pick and pick the buds. They never make a mistake. They're with the plant." (Steinbeck 6) In this quote, Elisa describes exactly how "planting hands" work like magic before the eyes. Moreover, the tinker does not really understand or care about her "planting hands". He would rather try to solicit her into buying his services to fix things. When she brings up "planting hands" to him, he changes the subject very quickly.

Posted by: Rannell Smith at February 12, 2013 10:05 AM

Adrianna Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 The Chrysanthemums- John Steinbeck

Question:We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the
antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.

Answer:The antagonist in the story is the tinker. When he enters the action, he immediately shakes up Elisa's world. At the end of the story, he gains an immense amount of power over her by destroying the chrysanthemums she worked so painstakingly to cultivate.

Posted by: Adrianna Johnson at February 12, 2013 06:42 PM

Colby Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA05 Academic Writing 2
13 February 2013

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the
story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them?
What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer: These conversations reveal that Henry is completely oblivious to Elisa's true emotions. Elisa, I argue, puts on a fake smile, for her husband. I argue this because of the quote on page 11, "She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying
weakly—like an old woman." This quote made me understand that the view of Henry towards Elisa is that she is just a women and is supposed to be treated as a sub-par citizen.

Posted by: Colby Johnson at February 13, 2013 09:29 AM

Peter Mercadante
Dr.Hobbs
Eng. 122 CAO5 Academic Writting II
11 February 2013


Question: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief
conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is
it resolved)?

Answer: There are two major conflicts in the story. the first is the conflict between Elisa and the fix-it man. She at first is very annoyed with him as he just nags her about money, but soon after, he finds an interest in her chrysanthemum. The conflict is defused for the moment only to find out later on that he deceived her just to make the money. This devastated Elisa which leads into the next conflict. Elisa versus herself.She wants to be more feminine throughout the whole story and finally had hope when the fix-it man enjoyed her flowers, but now she had no hope at all. So for the final part of the question is conflict resolved or not, the answer is no the conflict actually got worse for the protagonist. She had some hope and now had nothing and had been taken advantage of.

Posted by: Peter Mercadante at February 13, 2013 09:42 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA05
13 February 2013

Question: Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly – like an old woman?

Answer: Although Elisa declines the idea of watching a fight in the beginning of the story, she brings up the concept toward the end of the story because she desires to try something new to save her marriage with Henry. Elisa cries weakly like an old woman because of the fact that the tinker threw away her chrysanthemums, which is essentially her life. "The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa's face. 'Oh, those are chrysanthemums, giant whites and yellows. I raise them every year, bigger than anybody around here.'" (Steinbeck, 5). As soon as the tinker asks about the chrysanthemums in her garden, she becomes excited and talks about her passion for the chrysanthemums. This is why she becomes upset in the ending of the story, because she is excited to share a potentially mutual idea with another man, but in the end he does not have a care in the world for the chrysanthemums.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at February 13, 2013 09:43 AM

Terrance Browne
Dr.Hobbs
ENG122
13/February/2013

Question: Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes.
What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme,
i.e., which theme is the most prevalent?

Answer: To me the main theme to the story is the gender roles. This theme is brought up during the whole story because the story is trying to tell us that Elisa is a smart, energetic woman but is never living up to that. While the men in the story are not as smart as her but because they are men they get to run the ranch. I think this story is kind of a metaphor by saying that women are smarter than we think and we should let them do more work. There are moments were Elisa is trying to problem solve for her husband "She couldn't have known much about chrysanthemums. You can raise them from seed, but it's much easier to root the little sprouts you see there."(Steinbeck,5)

Posted by: Terrance Browne at February 13, 2013 09:46 AM

Briyana Aiken
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 Chrysanthemums
13 February 2013
Question: Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think
about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly –
like an old woman?
I think Elisa thought about, or wanted to see a fight at the end because she wanted to see if they were hurt badly and bleed like the men would. She cries weakly because she is being hurt.

Posted by: Briyana Aiken at February 13, 2013 09:54 AM

Jose Garcia
Dr. Hobbs
English 122 CA04 Academic Writing II
12th, February 2013
Question:
5. For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa’s clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?

Answer:
5. Elisa is an interesting woman whose life lacks fulfillment. She is stifled in every aspect of her life, and unsatisfied with it; however, this story resembles a time when women were not equivalent to men which causes the inequality between Elisa and the world to be embraced. When Elisa is described she is wearing her gardening clothes,
“Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with. She wore heavy leather gloves to protect her hands while she worked.”(Steinbeck 1)
The description of her clothes is bulky and masculine as if there was something to hide from. What Steinbeck does is creates an environment for Elisa that belittles her which she inevitably conforms to. Since Elisa is never acknowledged by her husband or any man, we as readers can infer that she is never stimulated sexually. This is something that is also expressed in her description, and the fact that for her as female to be described without physical characteristics is a symbol for her depreciation. However, the marginalization of Elisa begins to change when she meets tinker. Although their meeting began with frustration, the flirtatious conversation between them began to transform Elisa. She is described as having heavy leather gloves, and a black hat pulled over her eyes, but as the conversation continues these bulky items begin to dissipate and her true beauty starts to unveil. The meeting with Tinker gave Elisa the fuel to express her true beauty, and open up to the world which is evident in her preparation for dinner with her husband. Her true beauty is expressed when her husband appreciates and acknowledges her; in fact, the description of her at this moment greatly contrast the masculine description of her gardening. At the end of the story when she slips back in her seat and pulls the overcoat above her crying eyes, it symbolizes the digression of Elisa and the collapse back into her repressed state.

Posted by: Jose Garcia at February 13, 2013 10:15 AM

Jordan Miller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
13 Feb 2013

Question 14: We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.
Answer: One might think that in “The Chrysanthemums”, the antagonist would be the Old Man in the wagon, I mean in the end he just ends up throwing away her flowers, just needing them for the pot (Steinbeck, 10). But honestly, I believe the antagonist is Elisa’s pride. The old man was just trying to make a living, he was doing his job, and Elisa was too full of pride or just pure laziness to actually take him up on his offer. But the second his mentioned Elisa’s precious little Chrysanthemums, she turns into the nicest person alive. She becomes so welcoming and actually a nice person, once he succumbs to her “level”. It is kind of like, when you ask a girl out and she constantly says no, but then you mention you have a nice car or a nice house or just nice stuff in general, then all of a sudden she is your best friend.

Posted by: Jordan Miller at February 13, 2013 10:37 AM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122
12 February 2013


Question: 8. What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do
they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

Answer: The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa’s limited life. The chrysanthemums are lively and beautiful but they are contained in a small patch. Elisa is the same but she is unhappy and confined. The chrysanthemums are a contextual symbol because they only apply in this story. Her clothing is another symbol in the story because she changes her clothes when her mood and character changes. Her clothes went from manly and dirty to girly and pretty after she had an encounter with the tinker. “She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness.” (Steinbeck 8)

Posted by: Allison Knipe at February 13, 2013 11:01 AM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA 08
Feb 13, 2013

3) Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle and at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

A: Henry and Elisa are married and live on a foothill ranch owned by Henry. In these conversations it seems that they are happy and care about each other. However, they don't get to go out much because of how hard they work. Also it seems that Henry thinks Elisa is very good at growing plants but wishes she grew plants that could provide food. To show he cares Henry takes Elisa out as a celebration of selling cattle. On page two he says "I sold those thirty head of three-year-old stears. Got nearly my own price for it." Later on the same page he says "And I thought, I thought how it's Saturday afternoon, and we might go for dinner at a restaurant, and then to a picture show- to celebrate you see." Later on page ten he tells her "I ought to take you out to dinner oftener. It would be good for both of us. We get so heavy out on the ranch." In regards to what he thinks about her planting ability he says to her "I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big." To which she replies, "Maybe i could do it, too. I've a gift with things all right. My mother had it." (page 2). This quote shows her confidence in her ability.

Posted by: Marie Ryan at February 13, 2013 11:54 AM

Octavia Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122
12 February 2013

Question: 14.We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the
antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.

The antagonist in Steinbeck short story "The Chrysanthemums" is the traveling salesman. She has to overcome her feeling about how he used Elisa's love for flowers to manipulate her into buying his services. She then has to overcome her disappointment of finding out the truth near the end of the story.

Posted by: Octavia Robinson at February 13, 2013 08:37 PM

Ana DeMaio
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing 2 CA04 in Crawford Hall, Room #6
13 February, 2013
The Chrysanthemums
Question: What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their
significance?
Answer: In the story “Chrysanthemums” dogs were I included because, they are meant to represent the characters. The tinker`s dog represents the kind of character he is. Just like his dog he is an outcast, and can become dangerous. “"That's a bad dog in a fight when he gets
started"(Steinbeck 3). Just like his dog the tinker proves to be dangerous to Elisa.

Posted by: Ana DeMaio at February 13, 2013 09:27 PM

Brynn Laverdure
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08 Academic Writing II
February 14, 2013

Question: Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes.
What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme,
i.e., which theme is the most prevalent?

Answer: There were two main themes in The Chrysanthemums. There was the inequality between the male and female characters as well as sexual fulfillment. In the story Elisa says "It must be nice," she said. "It must be very nice. I wish women could do such
things." and the male replied,"It ain't the right kind of a life for a woman"(Steinbeck 7).

Posted by: Brynn Laverdure at February 14, 2013 07:23 PM

Jasmine Lowe
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 122-CA08
February 14, 2013
Question: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the denouement part of the structure how is it resolved (or, is, it resolved)?
Answer: The main conflict is between Elisa and the man in the wagon. Their conflict is never solved in the story (page 6-11).

Posted by: Jasmine Lowe at February 14, 2013 07:46 PM

Analisa Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122- CA08
14 February 2013

Question: Identify the details of Elisa's physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: Elisa was thirty five. Her face was lean and strong and her eyes clear as water. Her figure looked blocked and heavy, had a figured print dress, clod-hopper shoes, and wore heavy leather gloves. This showed that she was a women who was clean and orderly and liked things a certain way.

Posted by: Analisa Johnson at February 14, 2013 08:01 PM

Octavio Herrera
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II
12 February 2013

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer: Throughout the story one finds out more about the relationship between Henry and Elisa. They seem to be a bit isolated from each other; it seems as if they have different things going on in their lives. Elisa seems to be very proud of her accomplishments “In her tone and on her face there was a little smugness” (Steinbeck 2). In the middle of the story their relationship seems strained, and possibly that Elisa is not happy. He views her as a delicate woman and possibly seems to think she is a little confusing at times “He looked bewildered.”You're playing some kind of a game," (Steinbeck 9). In the end of the story it is seen that Elisa may be an unhappy women, and she may think less of herself “She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman” (Steinbeck 11).

Posted by: Octavio Herrera at February 14, 2013 08:02 PM

Marquisa Turner
ENG 122-CA04 Academic Writing II
Dr. Hobbs
9 February 2013

Question: What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

Answer: The chrysanthemums could symbolize life due to the way that they blossom. It could be considered both cultural and contextual. I would say that the Chrysanthemums symbolizes Elisa personality and her life and how she is as a woman.

Posted by: Marquisa Turner at February 14, 2013 08:04 PM

Angie Fortunak
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing CA08
14 February 2013

Question 7: What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?

Answer: Everyone likes a body guard, especially for a women. The dogs acted like a body guard. "He rangy dog darted from between the wheels and ran ahead. Instantly the two ranch shepherds flew out at him" (3). They acted to protect Elisa from the stranger coming down the road. The dogs are the ones that would've started a fight but they were backed off when the stranger started to talk abut the chrysanthemums.

Posted by: Angie Fortunak at February 14, 2013 08:26 PM

Alexia Chambers
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA04
February 11, 2013
12. Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly –like an old woman?
Elisa "cries like an old woman" because when she met with the tinker and offers him some of the chrysanthemums, she was not just offering her chrysanthemums but she was also offering herself to him. When she sees that he has thrown the flowers to the side of the road she feels like he has not only rejected the flowers and thrown away something very special to her but he has also rejected her

Posted by: Alexia Chambers at February 14, 2013 09:37 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA04
15 February 2013

Question: What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

Answer: Elisa’s taking a shower after the tinker’s departure could signify that this is the end of the “old” Elisa; the Elisa who listened to her husband, the Elisa who was shy etc. The way she cleans herself with energy shows that she wants to put something away: “And then she scrubbed herself with a little block of pumice, legs and thighs, loins and chest and arms, until her skin was scratched and red.” (Steinbeck, 8) The way she’s looking at herself in the mirror reveals that she is more confident in herself, she will take more initiative, she will do what she wants to do and not what her husband wants her to do: “She tightened her stomach and threw out her chest.” (Steinbeck, 8) Indeed, the fact of throwing the chest out is a sign of confidence, proudness etc. Her actions and speeches confused Henry because before the “shower”, before she met the tinker, she didn’t talk the same way she did after. Indeed, before the tinker came, the only sentence she said were: "Good, (…) Oh, yes. That will be good."” (Steinbeck, 2), or "Of course I'll like it. It's good to eat away from home." (Steinbeck, 3). At any moment, she said something which could annoy her husband, she was the wife who said yes to everything. Whereas after, for the first time of their relation, she said what she thought for real, without thinking that it could annoy her husband. Indeed she said: "Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by 'nice'?"

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at February 14, 2013 10:26 PM

Jazmine Dixon
Dr.Hobbs
English 122 CA04 “The Chrysanthemums”
15 Feb 2013


Question: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: Elisa’s physical person was described as, . She looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then. Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful. The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy. She brushed a cloud of hair out of her eyes with the back of her glove, and left a smudge of earth on her cheek in doing it. Behind her stood the neat white farm house with red geraniums close-banked around it as high as the windows. It was a hard-swept looking little house, with hard-polished windows, and a clean mud-mat on the front steps. (p.1)

Posted by: Jazmine Dixon at February 15, 2013 10:22 AM

Michael Ossolinski
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA08
7 October 2013

Question: Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes. What themes can you identify in this short story; What is the primary theme, i.e., which theme is the most prevalent?

Answer: Some themes is the inequality of gender especially women, dissatisfaction, feeling of being isolated, and the need for sexual encounters or fulfillment; the most prevalent theme is isolation because Elisa is always alone is most aspects of life and is afraid to branch out which leads to her dissatisfaction

Proof: (p.7, paragraphs 4,5,6)
(p.10)

Posted by: Michael Ossolinski at October 7, 2013 01:32 PM

Ti’rani Rye
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
7 October 2013
Question: 12. Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly – like an old woman.
Answer: Elisa becomes emotional because she sees the chrysanthemum sprouts and the man while her and her husband leave for a date. A date that is a prize fight watching. She cries because that excitement the tinker brought her is truly gone and she is a woman that no longer holds her youth.

Posted by: Ti'rani Rye at October 7, 2013 01:56 PM

Jeffrey Wingfield, Alex Koufas, Julieann Sauter Tyiasha Bailey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 Academic Writing II
7 October 2013
Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief
conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is
it resolved)?

The conflicts in the story include the wife’s struggle to be independent, the wife’s struggle to be feminine, and the wife against nature in her struggles to garden. She struggles against the tinkerer because he wants to fix things for her but she wants to fix them herself. She also has an internal struggle because she is very masculine on the outside but she wants to be feminine. There is also a gender conflict. She is in a man’s world where masculinity is valued and her husband values her being tough. She suppresses her feminine side, her true side, for the sake of her husband. Steinbeck shows this with the juxtaposition of her beauty and the dirtiness of her life, “" Her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair.”( Steinbeck 6)

Posted by: Jeffrey Wingfield, Alex Koufas, Julieann Sauter Tyiasha Bailey at October 7, 2013 02:01 PM

Maryerie Rojas, Ti’rani Rye, Madi Owens, Taina Valcarcel
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA 08
7 October 2013

Question 10: What is a “tinker”? Why is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in “The Chrysanthemums” a contrast to Elisa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere, or is he just a con man? Are there any ways in which they are alike? (Note: Study their conversation carefully for clues.)

Answer: A tinker is a handyman that is specifically known to fix "pots, pans, knives, scissors, [and] lawn mowers” (Steinbeck 3). He is just a generalization and representation of the tinkers that is why he has no name. Elisa has a stable home with a husband and the tinker is a traveler and sleeps in the wagon in which he roams (Steinbeck 7). The tinker does not want to be held down by a woman as Elisa is held down by her husband. Elisa seems to want to be a free woman, "You might be surprised to have a rival some time. I can sharpen scissors, too. And I can beat the dents out of little pots. I could show you what a woman might do" (Steinbeck 8). Elisa is shows within this quote that she is just as strong as the tinker.

Posted by: Maryerie Rojas, Ti’rani Rye, Madi Owens, Taina Valcarcel at October 7, 2013 02:16 PM

Rebecca Liller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
8 October 2013

Question: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?

Answer: The chief conflict in this story is Elisa vs. herself. This is because Elisa always seems to be upset about something and is never happy anymore. This also leads into Elisa vs. her marriage, because she is very unsatisfied with Henry and craves attention from the tinker she is talking to. This then shows that Elisa has low self-esteem and keeps herself hidden. With this, she keeps herself hidden behind man’s clothing and does not truly express her beautiful self, or herself being a strong woman. She needs her husband to point that out to her because she has no self-confidence. Elisa also feels dirty and guilty after talking to the tinker, and literally scrubs herself until she is red all over the body. This symbolizes that Elisa was scrubbing away the impurity and guilt off of her, and that the water was cleansing away all of those dirty thoughts and feelings. She also is a sad woman, because when the tinker throws out her flower in the street, she is left with a sunken feeling and can hardly look at the road because of how upset she is. She thought the tinker actually wanted to give her attention and he cared about her in that instance, but all of that hope is lost when she sees that lonely flower in the road. In the dénouement of the story, the conflict still is not resolved. When the reader is reading the story, they get a sense that Elisa is starting to have confidence by the way she looks for the dinner and the way she wants wine at dinner with her husband. However, when he is trying to tell her that women typically do not go to these fights because it is for men, she feels down again, and even starts crying because all of that confidence she did build in that short time was shot down yet again for this poor woman.

Posted by: Rebecca Liller at October 8, 2013 01:18 AM

Rebecca Liller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
8 October 2013

Question: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?

Answer: The chief conflict in this story is Elisa vs. herself. This is because Elisa always seems to be upset about something and is never happy anymore. This also leads into Elisa vs. her marriage, because she is very unsatisfied with Henry and craves attention from the tinker she is talking to. This then shows that Elisa has low self-esteem and keeps herself hidden. With this, she keeps herself hidden behind man’s clothing and does not truly express her beautiful self, or herself being a strong woman. She needs her husband to point that out to her because she has no self-confidence. Elisa also feels dirty and guilty after talking to the tinker, and literally scrubs herself until she is red all over the body. This symbolizes that Elisa was scrubbing away the impurity and guilt off of her, and that the water was cleansing away all of those dirty thoughts and feelings. She also is a sad woman, because when the tinker throws out her flower in the street, she is left with a sunken feeling and can hardly look at the road because of how upset she is. She thought the tinker actually wanted to give her attention and he cared about her in that instance, but all of that hope is lost when she sees that lonely flower in the road. In the dénouement of the story, the conflict still is not resolved. When the reader is reading the story, they get a sense that Elisa is starting to have confidence by the way she looks for the dinner and the way she wants wine at dinner with her husband. However, when he is trying to tell her that women typically do not go to these fights because it is for men, she feels down again, and even starts crying because all of that confidence she did build in that short time was shot down yet again for this poor woman.

Posted by: Rebecca Liller at October 8, 2013 01:18 AM

Julieann Sauter
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing CA 08
6 October 2013

Question: What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand the explanation of them?

Answer:
What Steinbeck means when he refers to Elisa as having “planting hands” is that she has a green thumb. She is very good at gardening and can make anything. Elisa says, “I've a gift with things, all right. My mother had it. She could stick anything in the ground and make it grow. She said it was having planters' hands that knew how to do it” (Steinbeck 2). The tinker does not understand this because he views Elisa as a woman who cannot do much. He believes such jobs are a “man’s job.”

Posted by: Julieann Sauter at October 9, 2013 12:16 AM

Ryan MacCarthy, Michael Ossolinski, Rebecca Liller, and Tyiasha Bailey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 Academic Writing II
7 October 2013


Question: What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?


Answer: Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure could signify the fact that she does not have much confidence in herself. While she takes the bath, it could also very well mean that she is cleansing herself from what she was saying to the man. Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveals that she needs to think about who she is and she wants to self-reflect. Steinbeck states, “She tightened her stomach and threw out her chest. She turned and looked over her shoulder at her back” (Steinbeck 8). Her actions and speeches confuse Henry mainly because he was expecting more from her than she was willing to give to him.

Posted by: Ryan MacCarthy at October 9, 2013 11:57 AM

Group Question
Luis Martinez, Ryan Voss

Q- Identify the details of Elisa's physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story & discuss what it reveals about her as a wife as a gardner. How would you describe Elisa as a character. What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

A- Early in the story Elisa is described as having a "lean and strong" face, Steinbeck also describes her eyes as "clean as water". This description, in addition to her "Blocked and heavy" figure in her work clothes gives the vibe of a hardworking woman. Elisa appears to be more of a partner to her husband than a wife. She puts on her protective clothes and does the work her husband asks her to and snappily agrees with him on most topics brought up throughout the story, she even considers going to the fight in the last lines of her dialogue. This shows one side of her being dynamic. She also changes in the sense that she goes from wearing all her protective leather to taking it off and helping transplant the chrysanthemum into wet sand for the tinker, she even wipes her face and leaves a smudge of dirt before enthusiastically describing the care process of such a beautiful flower.

Posted by: Luis Martinez at October 9, 2013 12:05 PM

Luis Martinez
Dr. Hobbs
Eng122 Academic Writing II
10/9/13

Q-Why don't the prisoners want to be freed by their old peer? If it were you, would you want to be released from the cave? Why or why not?

A- The prisoners do not want to be freed because the dark cave is all they have ever known. They do not beleive their peer because they have never thought of there being more to the world, chained to the rock is all they have ever seen. The abstract idea of there being more to life than the fire-lit cave is too much for them to comprehend. I would absolutely love to be released from the cave to explore this new world.

Posted by: Luis Martinez at October 9, 2013 12:09 PM

Luis Martinez
Dr.Hobbs
Eng122CA08 Academic Writing II
10/9/13

Q-Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

A-At the beginning of the story Elisa speaks to her husband about her excellent crop this year, and as we soon find out Elisa can be quit enthusiastic when it comes to her plants, but throughout this particular conversation Elisa chooses to reply with short snappy responses. After her husband comments on the crop all she has to say is "Yes. They'll be strong this coming year". This shows me that they have a unique relationship where Elisa can not truly express herself. When the tinker shows up and compliments her on her flowers she blossoms into conversation and quickly accommodates the mans working needs. Henry seems to know that Elisa has her moods because in paragraph 6 of page 10 he says "now you're changed again" as they begin they're last bit of dialogue.

Posted by: Luis Martinez at October 9, 2013 12:22 PM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
9 October 2013

Question #2: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: Elisa Allen, a main character in “The Chrysanthemums,” written by John Steinbeck is described in the beginning as having “a lean and strong” face(Steinbeck 1). Also, the speaker mentions “her eyes were as clear as water”(Steinbeck 1). Furthermore, the speaker says this woman looks large in the clothes she is wearing for gardening(Steinbeck 1). The speaker continues and says that she gets dirt on her face when she moves her hair off of her face, so this fact can tell the reader she is working hard in the garden(Steinbeck 1). Also, the Allen’s house, which is described as very clean and tidy, expresses the point that Elisa works hard taking care of the house(Steinbeck 1).
Elisa appears to be a gentle, pleasant, and hardworking lady. She appears to be fulfilling all the duties of the house for her husband, Henry Allen. This probably means she is obedient to him. However, when the man from the wagon finally receives some of her chrysanthemums and appears to have thrown them to the ground, she is not nearly as pleasant as before(Steinbeck 10). Because she is sad about losing her flowers and not getting much attention from her husband she seems to turn into a harder person as the story continues. She asks her husband if they could buy wine with their dinner they are having out at a restaurant; this wine was probably desired in order to help her through a melancholy and maybe even frustrating situation(Steinbeck 10). Also, Elisa expresses at the close of the story, her desire to go view fighting with her husband(Steinbeck 10). This activity, which she expressed she did not want to do at the beginning, is a vicious practice(Steinbeck 2). However, her wanting to attend this violent event shows the change in Elisa’s pleasant and quietly obedient mood into a frustrated, melancholy, and somewhat-reckless mood.

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at October 9, 2013 12:51 PM

Taina Valcarcel
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
October 9, 2013

Q: What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

Answer: Elisa's bath after the tinker is gone signifies that she felt impure after her encounter with him because she envied him for his freedom and power to roam with no boundaries. Steinbeck's description of her looking in the mirror tells us that she looks at herself with sadness and pity, for she did not live a life she was expecting to live and she has many regrets about her decisions and actions.Her actions and speech confuse Henry because he believes Elisa was happy on how they lived and prospered with little things, when in reality she just yearned for more sentiment and love. In the beginning, Henry says, "You've got a gift with things," Henry observed. "Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big"(Steinbeck,2). This indicated that Henry considered her more tough and manly than fragile and feminine.

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Taina Valcarcel at October 9, 2013 01:00 PM

Sawyer Hand
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
20 February 2014

Question: Identify the details of Elisa's physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: At the beginning of the story the author describes Elisa in a way that really gives you a chance to understand her. In one paragraph the author gives this physical description of her, "She was thirty-five. Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water. Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with. She wore heavy leather gloves to protect her hands while she worked." (Steinbeck 1). This description by the author shows that Elisa is a hard-worker that takes her job seriously. When it comes to her husband the line, " looked down across the yard and saw Henry, her husband, talking to two men in business suits....Elisa watched them for a moment and then went back to her work" sort of shows that she loves her husband(Steinbeck 1 ).There isn't obvious evidence to draw that conclusion, but you could it seems that she does since she is stopping what she is doing just to watch him for a moment. Elisa comes off as a strong-willed women. She doesn't like to be told she can't do something. This is clear in lines such as, "Her upper lip raised a little, showing her teeth. 'How do you know? How can you tell?'", this was in response to the traveler saying his life isn't the right kind of life for a women. The dynamic nature of her development as a character is that she changes as the story goes on. At the beginning she seems kind of serious and almost boring, but as the story goes on she becomes happier and more upbeat. By the end of the story she becomes sad again and ultimately begins to cry.

Posted by: sawyer hand at February 21, 2014 12:59 AM

Maxx Howarth
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II CA12
23 February 2014

QUESTION #9:
What is meant by the expression "planting hands"? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?

ANSWER:
The expression "planting hands" refers to the unconscious flow of hand movement one has after having routinely gardened. The tinker, however, appears to understand this. (Steinbeck 6-7).

Posted by: Maxx Howarth at February 23, 2014 07:00 PM

Bianca T. Smith
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
23 Feb. 2014

Question #8- What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story?

Answer: The chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa's life. Elisa is strong and lovely as well as the chrysanthemums. They are a contextual symbol. The chrysanthemums mean to Elisa that she is strong and thriving and that she is beautiful too. If the flowers got the attention of the man, why no her too? "That's it. What a nice way to describe them" (Steinbeck 5). She is surprised that the man notices the flowers and described them so well. "Beautiful," she said. "Oh, beautiful." Her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair" (Steinbeck 6). This shows that she is attracted to the man and tries to flirt with him and show off her looks to him.

Posted by: Bianca T. Smith at February 23, 2014 08:35 PM

Gabriela Caminero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Academic Writing II
23 February 2014

Question: What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?

Answer:
The purpose and significance of including the dogs in the story was that while the dogs were walking underneath the wagon, their movements paralleled the grotesqueness of the "crawling" schooner-topped wagon and its mismatched team of work animals. “Underneath the wagon, between the hind wheels, a lean and rangy mongrel dog walked sedately. Words were painted on the canvas in clumsy, crooked letters” (Steinbeck 3).

Posted by: Gabriela Caminero at February 23, 2014 09:21 PM

Sawyer Hand
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
23 February 2014

Question: For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa's clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?

Answer: In the short story "The Chrysantheums" the author spends a lot of time describing Elisa's clothing. For example the lines, "Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with. She wore heavy leather gloves to protect her hands while she worked" (Steinbeck 1). The author does this to give the reader a chance to understand what kind of person Elisa is. Her clothing changes along with her mood as the story goes on. At first she seems reserve and quiet or shy, but as the story goes on she takes off her hat and gloves and begins to open up more. This is shown in lines such as ,"While the man came through the picket fence Elisa ran excitedly along the geranium-bordered path to the back of the house. And she returned carrying a big red flower pot. The gloves were forgotten now(Steinbeck 2).

Posted by: sawyer hand at February 23, 2014 11:17 PM

James Jessop
Dr. B. Lee. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II
23rd February 2014

Question #6 - What is a “tinker”? Why is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in “The Chrysanthemums” a contrast to Elisa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere, or is he just a con man? Are there any ways in which they are alike? (Note: Study their conversation carefully for clues.)
Answer – A tinker is/was a man who mended household utensils, often, like our character in the story moving from town to town in a “curious vehicle” (Steinbeck 3) looking for work. Why is our character nameless in the story? Well, he doesn’t really need a name. There is little personal contact, it is more of just a meeting in passing between him and Elisa so there was no need, in my opinion for Steinbeck to give the “tinker” a name. I believe that the tinker represents the lifestyle that a working woman in those days envied. “That sounds like a nice way to live” (Steinbeck 5) is a quote that lets me believe this. The story is based in a time where sexism was a real issue for women, and for a working women in that day the chance to be in control themselves, and to see other places is nothing but a dream. In terms of whether the tinker is a conman or whether he is sincere, I believe that it is hard to come to a conclusion on this. On one hand he is trying to make a living, but he is travelling in his “curious vehicle” (Steinbeck 3) and when prospective customers, in this case Elisa decline his offer of his services saying things such as “No. My scissors are all sharp” (Steinbeck 4), he uses their kindness against them in the style of a conman. “Maybe I won’t have no supper tonight” (Steinbeck 5) is a quote showing how he tries to use the good nature of people, just like a conman would, to make money for himself. But, he does appear to have a sensitive side when it comes to talking about the Chrysanthemum plants bringing up the woman in the next village without one. Are they alike? They have a similar skill set. They are both strong and good with fixing things, but emotionally they are completely different people. Elisa is clearly a kind-hearted woman, whereas the tinker is more of a selfish man, only interested in things that would benefit himself.

Posted by: James Jessop at February 24, 2014 12:13 AM

Sarah A Ellis
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA12
24 February 2014

Question 14:
We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonists? Be ready to fully explain your answer.

Answer:
Elisa is both the protagonist and antagonists, she is in the way of her own self. She lets herself believe that she cannot be anything else than a wife. She believes the only extraordinary thing that Elisa can do is trending to her chrysanthemums plants (Steinbeck 2). After the Man and Elisa talked, she was able to feel more confident, beautify, and strong about herself (Steinbeck 9-10). This showed that she did not feel that way about herself before the Man arrived.

Posted by: Sarah Ellis at February 24, 2014 12:49 AM


Sergio Velazquez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Eng122 - ACADEMIC WRITING II CA12


1. Discuss how Steinbeck’s description helps to reinforce the major themes of the story and
what it reveals about the characters in the story. For example, comment on
what the following would stand for: fog, rain, clouds. In what ways does the
setting of the story foreshadow what follows?

The land scape make you feel trapped, because you are surrounded by by mountains and the sky is covered in clouds in the story we read “On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and
made of the great valley a closed pot.”(Steinbeck paragraph1)

Posted by: Sergio Velazquez at February 24, 2014 09:18 AM

Hubert Reuter
Dr .B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
24 February 2014

Question:
What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What
does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal
about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

Answer:
After the tinker leaves, Elisa takes bath, scrubbing herself with a little block of pumice because she is feeling guilty for giving in to the temptations of the thinker (Steinbeck 8). By dressing slowly in front of the mirror and admiring her body Elisa is also admiring her femininity. She hopes that Henry will recognize her as a woman (Steinbeck 8). Her actions confuse Henry because he thinks she is playing a game.

Posted by: Hubert Reuter at February 24, 2014 09:58 AM

Makenzie Holler
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
25 February 2014

Question #15: Remember that ideas reoccur in a narrative are known as themes. What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme, i.e., which theme is most prevalent?

Answer: The primary theme is this short story, is how the men treat women. Elisa has so many assets that make her a strong working person, but that all goes down the drain. Elisa is much more intelligent than Henry, but since Henry is a guy, he gets to control and manage everything. There is one point in this story that Henry calls Elisa strong which I thought was amazing. Henry says "You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon" (Steinbeck 9). Elisa does not even know how to react to the comment, but she takes it offensively.

Posted by: Makenzie Holler at February 25, 2014 03:39 PM

Traneisha Cunningham
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
25 February 2014

QUESTION #12:
Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly - like an old woman?

ANSWER:
Elisa thinks about wanting to see a fight at the end of the story because she is very eager to transcend the "trap" of being a women in their society that Elisa tries anything to escape it. She then starts to cry weakly - like an old woman because while she was riding down the road with her husband she realizes that she has been deceived by the tinker and that he was not interested in her chrysanthemums at all (Steinbeck 10). He had only pretended to be interested in Elisa talking about them in order to get some business from her which were to mend some pots. What had been an awakening of emotions for Elisa was now a huge disappointment. Elisa then realizes that she simply cannot be anyone different from who she is on her little farm with her husband. She is "trapped" there and will never be able to get her husband to see the aesthetic beauty of her flowers that she loves so much.

Posted by: Traneisha Cunningham at February 25, 2014 10:36 PM

Berlin Waters
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
26 February 2014

Question #11:

For this question, let’s consider and apply the SLU Core Values. Analyze, and then discuss, the tinker’s character in relation to the following passage from the story:

She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn't have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot,” she explained. “He had to keep the pot. That's why he couldn’t get them off the road.”

Answer:
After getting to know the man a bit more we see that he is a decent hearted man who just happens to be down on his luck. The passage tells of him keeping the pot of flowers to give to the woman who wanted them and how he was carrying out that duty. This character seems to be an honest man who stays true to his word and cares about people. Referring to the SLU core values, this man represent responsible stewardship, community, as well as respect.

Posted by: Berlin Waters at February 26, 2014 01:23 AM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at March 6, 2014 08:45 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 September 2014


Question II:
For this question, let’s consider and apply the SLU Core Values. Analyze, and then discuss, the tinker’s character in relation to the following passage from the story:


She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn’t have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot,” she explained. “He kept the pot. That’s why he couldn’t get them off the road.”


Answer:
The tinker displays a simple, stubborn, and childlike character throughout the duration of the story, “The Chrysanthemums,” by John Steinbeck. The previous quote reveals that Elisa is feeling guilty for acting more interested in her work than the work of the tinker, hence why she “swung full around towards her husband so she could not see the little covered wagon” (Steinbeck 10). Elisa feels that because she was so disinterested in his work, and as an afterthought gave him something to work on after he showed an interest in her work. The tinker may harbor ill feeling towards her and try to take it out on them on them as they passed by his wagon a little ways up the road. However, the tinkers attitude and actions up until this point seem grateful to have worked on something during his little detour from his main route.


Elisa may also be subconsciously thinking the tinker is jealous of her and husband since they were on their way into town all dressed up and driving what was considered to be a fancy car of that time. While the tinker who has nothing to him name but the wagon in which he lives and travels, this thought process could also have been a motivator to the way Elisa was acting in the car. The tinker, however, does not feel this way since he seems content in the lifestyle he chose for himself, “I ain’t in any hurry, ma am. I go from Seattle to San Diego and back every year” (Steinbeck 4).

Posted by: Emily Finck at September 7, 2014 11:47 AM

Rebecca Messano
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature CA02
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
September 7, 2014

Question 12:
Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly – like an old woman?

Answer:
In the story, Elisa lives a very domestic and secluded life as a farmer’s wife. She works on the farm each day and spends time in the garden as well, which is her passion. Living this life makes Elisa unhappy though, and in the story she says to her husband that she “wishes women could live the life” that he lives. I believe that Elisa wants to see the fight because she wants a change in her life, rather than the same routine everyday. Elisa is a very strong woman. If she wanted to see the fights, she could; but when her husband offers to take her she refuses. At the end of the story, she cries weakly because she knows that her life is not going to change, and that disappoints her.

Posted by: Rebecca Messano at September 7, 2014 11:59 AM

Allison Ward
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014

Question #13:
Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?

Answer:
The conflicts in this story are about how hard Elisha works on the farm, her plants, and her feelings. The chief conflict is her feelings toward the man that comes to her farm in the story. When he first comes to the farm, he tells Elisha that he is not on his normal route, and she proceeds to help him out. Then, he tells her about what his job description, and she seems disinterested. Once he starts talking about her chrysanthemums, she lights up and enjoys his company. The conflict comes into play when he tells her about his lifestyle. On page four, he tells Elisha how he goes “from Seattle to San Diego and back every year”, how it “takes all my time”, and how he “aims to follow nice weather”. Elisha likes the sound of that, and proceeds to say, “that must be a nice way to live.”(Steinbeck 4). This infers that her life at home is very boring, and she wants excitement and adventure. At the dénouement part of the structure, the conflict is not resolved. Elisha tries to get Henry to take her to the “fights” that take place in town, but they just go to dinner instead. So, she “turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying-like an old woman.”(Steinbeck 11).

Posted by: Allison Ward at September 7, 2014 01:15 PM

Shelby Rexroth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 210CL
September 10th, 2014

QUESTION: Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. / You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat like a watermelon.” Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being called “strong”?

ANSWER: When Henry compliments his wife, Elisa’s flower garden by saying “You’ve got a gift with things,” …“Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across.” It makes her feel really good about herself and boosts her confidence. When I was reading the story, I almost got the feeling that he was being sarcastic and trying to put her down just because she’s a woman and he has the mentality of “men are better than woman”. Elisa gets upset when Henry calls her strong, because earlier that day a man had come to her garden and asked to buy some of her chrysanthemums because he had told her how beautiful they were. Unfortunately, later on that night, when Elisa and Henry went out for dinner, she had seen the flowers she told to the tinker poured out on the side of road, which killed all the confidence in herself and her garden that she had.

Posted by: Shelby Rexroth at September 7, 2014 01:35 PM

Ashjan Alrashid
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014

Question #7 :
What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?

Answer:
I think that the writer was trying to show the similarity between dogs and humans. When the narrator described the meeting of the repairman rangy dog and her “two ranch shepherds flew out at him.” (Steinbeck 3) "with ambassadorial dignity” he described. Eventually, "Now the newcomer dog, feeling outnumbered, lowered his tail and retired” we see later on, a similar situation with Elisa when she meets the repairman. Although she met him with laughter and helped him in the beginning, when he kept asking her to give hem work she got irritated and was resistance and strict "she said quickly. "Nothing like that." Her eyes hardened with resistance.” (5) she was tough and full with dignity
just like her shepherds dogs where and he was much similar to his rangy dog.
On the other hand, she also surrenders just like his dog did “The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa's face” when he asked about her chrysanthemum. The narrator even described her once as a frowning dog “She crouched low like a fawning dog.” (7) The writer is obviously trying to show us the characteristic similarity between dogs and humans in his story.

Posted by: ashjan alrashid at September 7, 2014 11:24 PM

Thomas Watson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014

QUESTION #5:
For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa's clothing change as the story progresses?

ANSWER:
I believe that the narrator spends time describing Elisa's clothes is to show some sort of change in her demeanor. In the beginning Elisa is described with vivid detail as a hard working woman. Her face was described to be lean and strong with eyes ever so clear, her figure diminished by her gardening costume, while wearing a man's hat covering her beautiful eyes, wearing shoes similar to boots (Steinback 1).

Then once she met a peculiar man, that does handy work for a living it started to bring her true feelings out. Once they had gotten intimate in conversation she said that she'd get into that kind of business. However, the man would concur stating, "It ain't the right kind of a life for a woman" (Steinback 8). So after the conversation was over and the man was long gone.

Afterwards, she started to get ready to go to dinner with her husband. It seemed like she was reflecting on who she was, as if she tried to find her identity. Then when she got dressed she was described as a beautiful woman. Right before they went out her husband said, ""Why—why, Elisa. You look so nice!" (Steinback 9). She seemed shocked when he called her that, as well as him calling her strong. Then once he explained she asked for him not to talk like that. At the end of the story she seemed torn, because it appears that she can't be who she really wants to be.

Posted by: Thomas Watson at September 7, 2014 11:55 PM

Irma Sera
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014

Question #15
Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes. What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme, i.e, which theme is most prevalent?

Answer:
Some of the themes identified throughout the story are Women and feminism, isolation, dissatisfaction, and confinement. The primary theme of the story would be Confinement/limitations, “The high gray-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and all the rest of the world. On every side, it sat like a lid on the mountains and made of the great valley a closed pot” (Steinbeck 1). The opening begins with confinement, and the theme continues to show up throughout the story, “Behind her stood the neat white farm house with red geraniums close-banked around it as high as the windows (1),” the location seems isolated. In the story, Womanhood is interpreted as being trapped and forced to live an unhappy lifestyle. Elisa doesn’t seem happy with her day to day life, and stuck in the in the role that men have given her. ““Oh, no,” she said breathlessly. “No, I wouldn't like fights (2).”” Elisa is trapped in her own world, being consumed by her unsatisfying lifestyle.

Posted by: irma sera at September 8, 2014 12:16 AM

Anthony colello
Dr. Hobbs 
ENG 210 CA02 Love and Desire in Literature
7 September 2014

Question 9: 
What is meant by the expression "planting hands"? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?

Answer:
The term "planting hands" refers to ones natural ability, a gift if you will, to do something well without needing to consciously work at it, "They do it themselves" (Steinbeck, pg.6).  Here, Elisa explains to the tinker how her hands just do the work by themselves as though her hands know what to do.  The tinker fails to understand her explanation of "planting hands" and casts her aside like worthless trash, "Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew" (pg.10).  Elisa knew the dark speck in the road was the damp soil that was nurturing the flower sprouts. As she passed she noticed that he didn't ruin the pot, "He had to keep the pot" (pg.10). This shows a conscious effort to dispose of the plant and not the pot revealing the tinker's true motive, to dupe Elisa into giving him a pot to possibly sell and paying him for his services.

Posted by: Anthony Colello at September 8, 2014 08:59 AM

Sharonda Byrd
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENC 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014
The Chrysanthemums
Question 4: Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. / You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat like a watermelon. “Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being called “strong”?
Answers: These two statements reveal that Henry believes that his wife can get more money for him by doing more than working in the garden. Elisa is strong so she can do more than tending to the flowers and help him with his business more. Henry is confused when Elisa protests about him calling her strong because she has never reacted this way before. She questions Henry on what he means by strong because the tinker made her rethink things. The tinker showed interest in her flowers and her. The attention that she got changed her mind set and is making her question things for example in the story before the tinker if Henry said something to her she would never question or pay much attention to it but after the tinker when Henry says something she responds with this, “Nice? You think I look nice. What do you mean by 'nice'?".

Posted by: Sharonda Byrd at September 8, 2014 12:13 PM

Brianna Broughton
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire CA02
8 September 2014

The Chrysanthemum
Question 6: What is a “tinker” Whey is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in “The Chrysanthemums” a contrast to Elisa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere, or is he just a con man? Are there any ways in which they are alike?
Answer: A “tinker” is a mechanic, someone who is very skilled in mechanics and can fix pretty much anything. The tinker is nameless in the story because we get more information about him from the author’s description; usually a name is the first hint to who a character is. The tinker and Elisa live very different lives. Elisa’s life is pretty structured and she has a routine, whereas the tinker lived his life very freely. “I go from Seattle to San Diego and back every year. Takes all my time. About six months each way. I aim to follow nice weather." (Steinbeck, 4). The tinker represents the adventure and freedom that Elisa is missing from her life. The most joy she gets is from planting her Chrysanthemums; it is clear when she is relaying information on how to care for the flowers to the tinker. “Well, I can only tell you what it feels like. It is when you are picking off the buds you do not want. Everything goes right down into your fingertips…” (Steinbeck, 6).
The tinker gives off a creepy vibe, which Elisa picks up so she tries to get rid of him. “His face fell to an exaggerated sadness. His voice took on a whining undertone. ‘I ain't had a thing to do today….’”, “I'm sorry," Elisa, said irritably. "I haven't anything for you to do." (Steinbeck, 5). He is a skilled tinker and fixed two broken pots for Elisa, but he did con Elisa out of a few chrysanthemum buds and a flowerpot. The tinker and Elisa are similar in the way that they both have a lot of passion for their craft.

Posted by: Brianna Broughton at September 8, 2014 12:36 PM

Gabriel Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
8 Sept. 2014

QUESTION #8:
What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

ANSWER:
The Chrysanthemums has much symbolism. Even the chrysanthemum itself has great meaning to it. A symbol of Elisa's inner-self and possibly every woman as a universal symbol as well. Elisa is frustrated with her current lifestyle. She wished for a child and a send of romance and appreciation from her husband.

With love and care that would show to her own child, she presents to her chrysanthemum. Just as a mother would protect her young, Elisa makes sure there are “no aphids, no sowbugs or snails or cutworms” (Steinbackes 2) are there to cause harm to her flowers.

Later in the story, the chrysanthemums begin to develop more meaning to Elisa’s sexuality and feminine image. Although she feels as though caring for her flowers make her seem more famine, her masculine side is also shown when Henry says remarks such as ”you look strong enough to break a calf over your knee," (Steinbackes 10) causing Elisa to feel more vulnerable.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at September 8, 2014 12:46 PM

Ahmed Almoailu
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL-CA02
8 September 2014

What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify?
What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her?
Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?


She was feeling sexually aroused and attracted by him and she wanted to “wash” him away per say.
When the story begins, Elisa is wearing masculine clothing and the narrator even describes her body as “blocked and heavy.” Elisa starts to feel intellectually and physically stimulated after being around Tinker and her identity starts to sway.
After Tinkers departure Elisa experiences an almost ritualistic transformation. She strips, bathes herself, examines her naked body in the mirror, and then dresses. Prior she only wore more masculine clothing and now she dresses up in cute undergarments, a pretty dress, and makeup. I think that while looking at herself in the mirror she is finding her identity as a newly energized and sexualized self.

Elisa dresses in fancy cloths and is expecting Henry to be sweet and endearing. However, Henry is an extremely functional man and sees only the functionality of what is in front of him. Henry is extremely confused by Elisa’s recent change in actions and speeches. Normally, Henry sees Elisa in much more masculine attire without make up and with scruffy hair. He is the one that normally decides most things and when she is interested in going out he is left puzzled at the sudden changes in Elisa demeanor.

Posted by: Ahmed Almoailu at September 8, 2014 12:53 PM

Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL- Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 September 2014

Question #14:
We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.

Answer:
The tinker is the antagonist. Elisa had decided there was no work for him to do. "’I haven't anything for you to do,'" she said to him irritably (Steinbeck, 5). Even though there was no work for him to do he went around it, noticed the chrysanthemums Elisa was working on. He started asking her about the flowers and made her vulnerable. She finally gave him to pots to fix, and he earned 50 cents for his dinner. If he had not mention, the flowers he would have left with no dinner for tonight. He took advantage of her love for the chrysanthemums. Even though she claimed to be able to do his job, she still gave him a job and paid him for it.
The tinker is the antagonist because he used the chrysanthemums to take advantage of Elisa. He lied to her saying he knows “a lady down the road” that was interested in growing the flowers from seed (5). She noticed that the lady didn’t know much about the flowers since she wanted to grow them from seed, but she still went ahead and gave the man the instructions for taking care of the plant. She gave them the chrysanthemums in a nice red pot. When they were talking about the flowers, Elisa felt wanted to the point that she felt the urge to touch the man, but luckily stopped herself for doing so. In the end, she found out that he tricked her and took advantage of her. He took her red pot and discarded the chrysanthemums and he still got paid .50 cents for work that did not necessarily needed to be fix.

Posted by: Zailet Martinez at September 8, 2014 12:53 PM

Matt Weller
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 201CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
7 September 2014

Question #3:
Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer:
The conversations the couple have suggest that their relationship is in a shaky condition because Henry is doing his best to please Elisa, but he can’t communicate with her that well. Henry works hard and does his best to provide for Elisa. He makes a big sale, sells some of his steers to two men, and then wants to go out with Elisa to celebrate. However, he doesn’t know how to show his love and passion to her. He loves the work she puts into her garden, but doesn’t really know how to appreciate her. “You've got a gift with things," Henry observed. "Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big” (Steinbeck 2). Elisa feels like she is trapped with Henry and in their lifestyle together. When the man on the wagon comes by, at first she puts him off and doesn’t want anything to do with him, but once he notices her Chrysanthemums, she feels like he was noticing and appreciating her. She then wants to know about what he does, and then soon is fascinated on how much he travels and views the world. “It must be nice," she said. "It must be very nice. I wish women could do such things" (Steinbeck 7). This shows that she wants to get out of the lifestyle she is in right now and go explore the world.

Posted by: Matthew Weller at September 8, 2014 02:04 PM

Antonella Aviles
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Love and Desire in Literature
7 September 2014

Question: In The Story and Its Writer (ed. Ann Charters, 1998), Jay Parini writes that “The Chrysanthemums” opens “with a personified landscape, a paysage moralise in which the weather and geographical setting are deeply symbolic” (p. 1530). Examine the exposition of the story to identify the details of the imagery of the weather and the geographical setting. Then, discuss how Steinbeck’s description helps to reinforce the major themes of the story and what it reveals about the characters in the story. For example, comment on what the following would stand for fog, rain, clouds. In what ways does the setting of the story foreshadow what follows?

Answer: The story opens to a description of a rather plain ranch that Alisa and Henry live on and it seem to be dark, fogy and gloomy because it is about to rain which means that what comes next is dark and disturbing or unpleasant. Alisa description is that she is dressed like a man with a “masculine gardening outfit with men’s shoes and a man’s hat.” She then talks with this tall strong man who is a tinker looking for jobs to fix so that he can buy himself food and while they are conversing Elisa is being pulled into his tempting charm. The theme of this story is to be happy with what you have because there is always going to be temptations that try to make you see otherwise. Elisa was crying at the end when she could have been happy and content with the life that she and Henry were carrying out their days with.

Posted by: Antonella Aviles at September 8, 2014 03:29 PM

Allison Ward, Anthony Colello
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
8 September 2014

Question #2
Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of
the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How
would you describe Elisa as a character ? What kind of person is she?
Explain the dynamic nature of her development

Answer
Elisha’s physical description is described on page one of the story; she is thirty-five years old, her face is “lean and strong”, her eyes are “clear as water”, she has a “blocked and heavy figure in her gardening costume, she wore “clod-hopper shoes”, her “figured print dress almost covered by big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold snips...” This insight reveals that she is a hard worker, and does a great job to provide for her husband. She is a withdrawn, insecure character; has no sexual edge to her. The man in the story shows her that there is more to life than what she is living.

Posted by: Allison Ward/ Anthony Colello at September 8, 2014 03:36 PM

Emily Finck and Martin Terassi
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 September 2014


Question #6:
What is a “tinker”? Why is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in “The Chrysanthemums” a contrast to Elisa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere, or just a con man? Are there any ways n which they are alike? (Note: Study their conversation carefully for clues.)


Answer:
A tinker is someone who goes around from place to place in search of work. Tinkers often look for work in which they can fix or repair and often charge little to nothing for their services. In the story “The Chrysanthemums,” by John Steinbeck, the tinker remains nameless because he is a nomad, but, upon further investigation the tinker is also nameless because he is the psychical symbol of Elisa’s inner feeling. The tinker is all the aspects of herself that she wants to be, but cannot.


Elisa feels a longing for the tinker’s lifestyle that is evident from the conversation between the two: Elisa asks if the tinker sleeps in the wagon, once he answers, she longingly says, “It must be nice,” “It must be very nice. I wish women could so such things” (Steinbeck 7). Showing that she wishes she had what the tinker has. The tinker is considered a con man based on his nomadic tendencies and his shabby covered wagon that says, “Pots, pans, knives, scissors, lawn mowers, Fixed” (3). However, the tinker is sincere with his exchange with Elisa since he showed such an interest in her gardening, and with his persistence to fix something of hers to save her money. Elisa and the tinker are alike because he reflects her inner desires; he is everything that Elisa longs for, and she realizes this through their conversation. Elisa also feels the need to try and “doll” herself up more so than usual for when she and her husband go out; because, her exchange with the tinker made her realize how unwomanly she is underneath her womanly layer.

Posted by: Emily Finck at September 8, 2014 07:41 PM

Mickael Dodard & Zachary Gary
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA07
8 September 2014

Question #3
Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer:
The conversation reveals that they like planting flowers and spend a lot of time in their garden. The relationship is that they work together in a garden and that the husband really likes her because of their common job. The husband doesn’t really like her wife because he sees her as someone who is attractive to him because of what she knows about planting.

Posted by: Mickael Dodard at September 9, 2014 09:39 AM

Rashard Knowles, Samantha Witte
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA07
9 September 2014

QUESTION #12:
Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly- like an old woman?

ANSWER:
In the last paragraph of the story, Elise is hurt because she sees her lovely chrysanthemums that she had given to the old man dumped out on the side of the road. She had developed a connection with him, one that was much more exciting than what she currently possessed with her husband. Her husband even noticed later on after she talked to the old man all day that she looked “strong enough to break a calf over (her) knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon” (Steinbeck 9). She had developed a crush on the old man, who seemed more interested in her personal feelings and hobbies than her husband ever did. Elisa hates fighting and violence, yet she brings up the fights because she has anger towards all men at this point. Her husband leaves her feeling lonely. This new man got her to “put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness” (Steinbeck 8). She cries at the end because she realizes that the man used her just to get money and she is still feeling lonely.

Posted by: Rashard Knowles, Samantha Witte at September 9, 2014 12:05 PM

Group 3:
Irma Sera
Matt Weller
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
8 September 2014

Question #4
Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish you’d workout in the orchard and raise some apples that big. /You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat like a watermelon.” Why is henry so confused when Elisa protest at being called “strong”?

Henry does not appreciate the amount of effort Elisa puts into her craft (the Garden), and would rather have her invest her hard work and time into something he deems more important. This shows the undervalue of women in this time period. It also shows how absent intimacy is in the couple’s relationship. If Mr. Henry cared enough, he would understand how much the Garden meant to his wife and the reason behind her putting so much effort/love into caring for her flowers. Henry is confused when Elisa protest at being called “strong,” because he’s actually giving her a compliment; although it isn’t one she expect, it isn’t something that he does. Henry appreciates strong women and throughout the story she tries hard at being a women that he’s actually attracted to and now that she has changed up her appearance and is a little more sexy and feminine, she expects her husband to say just that and not just, “I don't know. I mean you look different, strong and happy" (Steinbeck 9.)

Posted by: Irma Sera & Matt Weller at September 9, 2014 02:08 PM

Shelby Rexroth and Brianna Broughton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG201 CL02
September 9th, 2014

QUESTION: #10. What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the Tinkers departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

ANSWER: Elisa was scrubbing herself hard until her body was scratched. She had felt “brand new”, pretty and confident after making her sale to the Tinker. After getting ready for her night out with Henry, he walked in and starting complimenting her non-stop. “For a second she lost her rigidity. “Henry! Don’t talk like that. You didn’t know what you said.” She grew complete again. “I’m strong,” she boasted. “I never knew before how strong.” She didn’t want to accept Henry’s compliments because she didn’t understand why he was complimenting her.

Posted by: Shelby Rexroth at September 9, 2014 03:55 PM

Zailet Martinez and Ahmed Almoailu
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL- Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 September 2014

Question #3:
Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer:
Looking at their conversations throughout the story, it seems like Henry and Elisa are not connected in the marriage. They are not interested in each other’s life. Henry always tries to reassure her how strong of a woman she is but does not allow her to show him what she can do. If we were to compare Henry and Elisa’s conversation and the Tinker and Elisa’s conversation, we can see how the conversations are different. Elisa tended to be more friendly and flirtatious with the tinker than with her own husband. She was flirtatious with the tinker because she is not truly satisfied with her life. At the end, she could have been crying because she had a platinum love with the tinker, she desired him.

Posted by: Zailet and Ahmed at September 9, 2014 05:03 PM

Thomas Watson, Sharonda Byrd
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love & Desire In Literature CA02
8 September 2014

QUESTION #14:
We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the
Antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.

ANSWER:
The conclusion that we came to is that her life as a woman is the antagonist. Because, the life she lives is personifying what society sees. Then once the Tinkerer strolls into town and conversates with Elisa. He then opens her up by relating to the things that she likes, like the chrysanthemums. Her demeanor towards him was different than it was towards her husband. She seems to want to have some sort of change in her life, because she’s settled in a life she doesn’t want. Her husband doesn’t seem to know what to do with her, we see that she’s strong but it seems he can’t see her more than just a housewife. Referring back to what the conversation that she had with the tinkerer, “It must be nice," she said. "It must be very nice. I wish women could do such things." "It ain't the right kind of a life for a woman.
Her upper lip raised a little, showing her teeth. "How do you know? How can you
tell?" she said. "I don't know, ma'am," he protested. "Of course I don't know”(Steinback 7).

Posted by: Thomas Watson at September 9, 2014 08:16 PM

Gianna Anderson
John Crane
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA07
9 September 2014

Question #10
What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What
does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal
about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

Answer:
When Elisa is taking a bath after Tinker's departure is to signify that she wants to look and smell nice for him.When she had dried herself she stood in front of a mirror in her bedroom and looked at her body. She tightened her stomach and threw out her chest. She turned
and looked over her shoulder at her back (Steinbeck,"The Chrysanthemums”). When Elisa was looking at herself in the mirror she is making sure everything about herself is looking right on her and there aren't any mess ups. As Elisa is getting dressed her husband notices that she is get ready and putting on new clothes and that confuses him because Elisa never really did anything special for him like that and to put so much effort in the way she looks. Henry's response to her while she is getting ready was"Why—why, Elisa. You look so nice!," (Steinbeck,"The Chrysanthemums”)also Henry went on to say "I don't know. I mean you look different, strong and happy."(Steinbeck,"The Chrysanthemums”) Henry was just stunned and wasn't expecting her to look so beautiful as she was.

Posted by: Gianna Anderson at September 9, 2014 09:02 PM

Shyra Bryant
Stephanie Vera
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Eng 122
8 September 2014
#4 Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish youd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big./ You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat like a watermelon.” Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being called “strong”?
Henry reacts in a confused manner to Elisa protesting about being strong, because to him, she reveals herself to be naïve and polit. Henry thinks she is too nice to be strong. Henry also seems confused by the way Elisa is reacting to Henry calling her strong. In the passage, Elisa says “I am strong? Yes, strong. What do you mean strong.” By Elisa saying, that portrays that she is questioning herself, as well as defending herself which could be a reason Henry is confused as she protest about being strong.

Posted by: Shyra Bryant and Stephanie Vera at September 9, 2014 11:38 PM


Danielle Kluender, Elizabeth Brown, Alyssa Davis
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA07
8 September 2014

Question #2:
Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of
The story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How
Would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer:
Elisa is a middle-aged woman dressed in a printed dress with an apron covered in dirt. This made her figure blocked and heavy. Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water. (Steinbeck 1). She has her own garden costume and dresses in men’s clothing. Such as a black hat, clod-hopper shoes, big corduroy apron, and wore heavy leather gloves. Elisa is a round character because she becomes developed as the story goes on. She is independent and is very focused on her flowers and gardening. She was devastated when she saw that the man had tossed the cutting out of the wagon. This left her devastated because she is very dedicated and put in a lot of work into her garden and flowers.

Posted by: Danielle Kluender at September 10, 2014 12:33 PM

Justine Gonzalez, Trejon Baynham
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA07
9 September 2014

Question #6:
What is a tinker? Why is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in "The Chrysanthemums" a contrast to Elsa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere or is he just a con man? Are there anyways are they alike?

Answer:
A tinker means an act of attempting to repair something, a person who travels from place to place mending metal utensils as a way of making a living. The tinker in the story remains nameless because of his shady dealings & his questionable merchandise. He is an unbridal, nature person. The tinker and Elsa are alike because they both have a sense of humor, they both are hard workers, he is a tinker and Elsa a farmer.They are different that he does not work hard but Elsa does. He is not sincere, "He might have thrown them off the road. That would have not been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot." ( Steinbeck page 10)

Posted by: Justine Gonzalez at September 10, 2014 01:32 PM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. B. Lee Hobbs at September 15, 2014 04:20 PM

Selena Hammie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA12
4 February 2015

“The Chrysanthemums”

Question # 12: Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly-like and old woman?

The last paragraph shows Elisa is in curiosity about the fights her husband mentions earlier in the story. She feels that she is a strong woman, in which I agree because she does a lot of work on her farm like her husband. I think she wants to see the fights because she thinks she is strong enough. When her husband sees her after he gets done with his bath he says, “.. You look different, strong and happy.” She agreed with him and says” I am strong.”(Steinbeck Page 9) I think Elisa cries as if she was weak because her husband makes the decision of her not liking it upfront but then switches his perspective and says he will take her anyway. I think she cries because she feels as if she is strong but not as strong as Henry sees her be based on how dressed up she got for dinner. I also think she cries because she only works on her farm and does nothing more and judging by the conversation she has with the man, in the middle of the story, her tone sounds like she wishes she can do more. She got very excited to explain how to plant the chrysanthemums and enjoyed herself, soon after the conversation ended she snaps back into reality and watches him as he drives off in his wagon.

Posted by: Selena Hammie at February 4, 2015 03:47 PM

Kathleen Sholl
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA12
5 February 15

“The Chrysanthemums” Discussion Question

Question: For this question, let’s consider and apply the SLU core values. Analyze, and then discuss, the tinker’s character in relation to the following passage from the story.

Answer: In “The Chrysanthemums,” the tinker’s character in relation to the core values of Saint Leo University is all weak. The tinker shows no respect for Elisa when he threw her chrysanthemums out onto the road. She specifically gave them to him thinking he was going to help another member of the community. However, he showed no community because he did not care about the chrysanthemums, or the apparent woman who wanted to start her own chrysanthemum garden. His motive was just to get Elisa to give him her pans to fix for his own financial benefit. “Oh, fifty cents’ll do,” said the tinker (Steinbeck 8). Not only does he disrespect Elisa, but also he shows zero integrity because he was dishonest. The tinker threw the chrysanthemums out onto the road, knowing they were for someone’s use. The story states, “she turned up her coat collar so he could not see her crying” (Steinbeck 11). Elisa was in distress by the tinker’s lack of integrity and respect.

Posted by: Kathleen Sholl at February 5, 2015 06:44 PM

Emily Buckley
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
6 February 2015

Question: In The Story and Its Writer (ed. Ann Charters, 1998), Jay Parini writes that “The Chrysanthemums” opens “with a personified landscape, a passage moralise in which the weather and geographical setting are deeply symbolic” (p. 1530). Examine the exposition of the story to identify the details of the imagery of the weather and the geographical setting. Then, discuss how Steinbeck’s description helps to reinforce the major themes of the story and what it reveals about the characters in the story. For example, comment on what the following would stand for: fog, rain, clouds. In what ways does the setting of the story foreshadow what follows?

Answer:
“The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and
from all the rest of the world. On every side it sat like a lid on the mountains and
made of the great valley a closed pot.” (Steinbeck 1) This line suggests Elisa is closed off from the world. More specifically Elisa is closed off from the ‘mans’ world she is separate from what men can do. The mountains (Elisa’s separation from men’s ability to be free) allow her to be fertile in what she does (her women’s work).

“The yellow stubble fields seemed to be
bathed in pale cold sunshine, but there was no sunshine in the valley now in
December. The thick willow scrub along the river flamed with sharp and positive
yellow leaves.” (Steinbeck 1) This suggests that in the middle of the surrounding restraint of man she is beautiful and productive.

“A light wind
blew up from the southwest so that the farmers were mildly hopeful of a good rain
before long; but fog and rain did not go together.” (Steinbeck 1) A stranger came and gave her hope for an outside world, but she is a woman and society says she is not fit to live on her own. “’You sleep right in the wagon?’ Elisa asked. "Right in the wagon, ma'am. Rain or shine I'm dry as a cow in there." It must be nice," she said. "It must be very nice. I wish women could do such
things." "It ain't the right kind of a life for a woman. Her upper lip raised a little, showing her teeth. "How do you know? How can you tell?" she said. ‘I don't know, ma'am," he protested. "Of course I don't know.’” (Steinbeck 7)

Posted by: Emily Buckley at February 6, 2015 12:28 PM

Diego Garcia
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
8 February 2015

Discussion Question

Quote: “Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water.” (Steinbeck 1)

Question: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: In the first page of the short story, it describes her while she works in the garden and constantly looks up from her work to watch what her husband is doing. It explains how much energy she has toward her work by saying, “Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.” As a wife, she is happy about any accomplishments that happen to him and appreciates anything that he does for her. In the story, it says, “’I sold those thirty head of three-year-old steers. Got nearly my own price, too.’
‘Good,’ she said. ‘Good for you.’” (Steinbeck 2). It also says, “We'll go in town about five and have dinner at the Cominos Hotel. Like that?’ ‘Of course I'll like it. It's good to eat away from home.’” (Steinbeck 3). She is a hard worker who believes she can do anything a man can. At the end of the story, she goes from being a strong woman to a sensitive woman after talking to her husband about the prize fights. In the story, it says, “Her face was turned away from him. ‘It will be enough if we can have wine. It will be plenty.’ She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman.” (Steinbeck 10 and 11).

Posted by: Diego Garcia at February 8, 2015 04:24 PM

Charis Lavoie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
16 February 2015

Question 15: Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes. What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme, i.e., which theme is the most prevalent?

Answer: One theme in this story is gender equality.

Posted by: Charis Lavoie at February 8, 2015 07:47 PM

Mallory Delay
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA12
8 February 2015

Question 6: What is a "tinker"? Why is the tinker nameless in the story? In what ways is the tinker in "The Chrysanthemums" a contrast to Elisa? What might he represent for her? Is he sincere, or is he just a con man? Are there any ways in which they are alike? (Note: Study their conversation carefully for clues.)

Answer: A "Tinker" is someone who fixes things usually made out of metal. The tinker in the story remains nameless so that he could be a general character. He can blend into any personality, and there is not a much of an emotional connection to him when we read the end of the story. The tinker is a contrast to Elisa in a way that he does not have as much as she does. He lives in his wagon six months out of the year, "follow[ing] nice weather" (Steinbeck 4) while Elisa lives in a lovely farm home with her husband. The tinker in this story has a laid-back personality, a carefree thinking. Elisa, on the other hand, is guarded and reserved. It is when they start talking about the chrysanthemums do the two start to bond. "The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa's face" (Steinbeck 4) when mentions that he too likes the smell of the flowers and even be willing to help spread her flowers. Meeting this man who does nothing but travel gives her a chance to think about what kind of life us out there, Elisa even says to him "That sounds like a nice kind of a way to live." (Steinbeck 4) He brings her an escape from the everyday life on the farm, maybe even from her husband.

Posted by: Mallory Delay at February 8, 2015 08:30 PM

Aderias Ewing
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing 2
8 February 2015
Question 13: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?
Man vs Man: Elisa vs Tinker. They both started not liking each other but as they talked more, she started getting sexually aroused by the stranger vs the stranger does not really care about her or her flowers
Man vs Man: Elisa vs her husband. She agrees with everything he says and never voices her opinion vs he takes advantages of it and teases her about not be able to handle watching the fights.
I think the biggest conflict was Man vs Self: Elisa vs herself. Elisa is not happy with herself and life she is not satisfied with her marriage vs not happy with her looks and is not even capable of communicating with her husband about her problems.
Nothing was resolved she still unhappy with her life, had her heart broken by the stranger; still doesn’t voice her opinion in what she wants to do with her husband.

Posted by: aderias ewing at February 8, 2015 10:45 PM

Rachel Addington
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
8 February 2015

Question: What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?
Answer: What is meant by the expression of planter hands is being able to just let your hands do the work perfectly and never make a mistake. “It's when you're picking off the buds you don't want. Everything goes right down into your fingertips. You watch your fingers work. They do it themselves. You can feel how it is. They pick and pick the buds. They never make a mistake. They're with the plant.” (Pg.6) The Tinker understands the explanation because he was able to compare it to something he knew.

Posted by: rachel addington at February 8, 2015 11:56 PM

Amber Dunlap
Dr. Hobbs
ENG. 122 Academic Writing CA 12
6 February 2015

Question 10:
What could Elisa taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? How does Steinbeck describe Elisa looking at herself in the mirror, what does it reveal about her?
Answer:
Steinbeck describes her body as “blocked and heavy.” He also says how her clothing reflects her asexual existence. Her taking a bath and changing her clothes symbolize the new energized and more sexualized Elisa. Her changing resembles the change she is making towards herself.

Posted by: Amber Dunlap at February 9, 2015 12:32 AM

Vallinique Martin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
8 February 2015


Question: For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time talking about Elisa’s clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?


Answer: When the story begins, Elisa is wearing a gardening outfit, heavy shoes, thick gloves, a man’s hat, and an apron. As the story progresses Elisa changes as well as the way he dresses. After Elsa speaks with the unnamed man about her love for flowers, she begins to feel more confident and begins to admire her self, because she feels an attraction to him because he understands her love for flowers. The change is first shown when she removes her gloves. “Elisa took off her gloves and stuffed them in the apron pocket with the scissors. She touched the under edge of her man's hat, searching for fugitive hairs. "That sounds like a nice kind of a way to live," she said.” (Steinbeck 4) After the unnamed man leaves Elisa completely transforms by taking off her clothes, taking a good bath, and then examining herself in the mirror before dressing into more feminine underclothes, a dress, and makeup. “After a while she began to dress, slowly. She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress, which was the symbol of her prettiness. She worked carefully on her hair, penciled her eyebrows and rouged her lips.” (Steinbeck 8)

Posted by: Vallinique Martin at February 9, 2015 01:06 AM

Kaitlin Murphy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
8 February 2015

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer: At the beginning of the story, the conversation between Elisa and Henry is just them making up their minds about what they want to do that night as their “date”. When Henry asked Elisa as a joke instead of a dinner and a movie if, she wanted to go watch a fight instead. Elisa seemed taken aback at this comment, making it look like since she’s a girl she shouldn’t be able to like that type of entertainment. “Henry put on his joking tone. ‘There’s fights tonight. How’d you like to go to the fights?’ ‘Oh, no,’ she said breathlessly. ‘No, I wouldn’t like fights’” (Steinbeck 2). In the middle of the story their conversation was Henry complemented Elisa on how she looked good and different, Elisa was taken aback again with his comment. I feel by Henry complimenting her that she looked as if she had gotten some confidence in herself, but I feel as if Elisa took it as she doesn’t seem strong and does not have self-confidence. “Henry blundered on. ‘I don’t know. I mean you look different, strong and happy,’ ‘I am strong? Yes, strong. What do you mean ‘strong’?” (Steinbeck 9). Lastly, their last conversation was them discussing if it is okay to see women at the fights. This is when Elisa starts crying. I think she started crying because she might feel as if her husband is the one that gets to decide what she gets to do because that’s what he thinks she’ll like, but she wants to do the same things that he is interested in. This shows us that their relationship seems to be out of touch, and they don’t spend much time together anymore, and Elisa might feel like she’s not good for him anymore.

Posted by: Kaitlin Murphy at February 9, 2015 02:01 AM

Victoria Markou
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA 12
8 February 2015

Question 14: We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist?

Answer: “Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful. The chrysanthemum stems seemed too small and easy for her energy,” Elisa struggles with her need for appreciation and expression, she is her own antagonist (Steinbeck 1). Elisa’s internal conflict of artistic expression overlaps an external conflict with her environment. She is compared to a dog in its environment: her “terrier fingers” destroy pests, she kneels while looking across the yard and “starts at the sound of her husband’s voice” (Steinbeck 2). Her eyes shine while she is praised, she “crouches low like a fawning dog,” she stands ashamed when pot-mender looks away self-consciously (Steinbeck 7). "You might be surprised to have a rival some time. I can sharpen scissors, too. And I can beat the dents out of little pots. I could show you what a woman might do." Her inner conflict is brought out, she informs the man that she can sharpen scissors and is strong too, even though she is rejected as an equal (Steinbeck 8). Along with her inner desire for expression, her environment (represented by the men mentioned in the story,) is the agonist in which she struggles for equality and recognition.

Posted by: Victoria Markou at February 9, 2015 02:38 AM

Jorge Braham
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA12
9 February 2015
Question:
For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa’s clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?


Answer:”Her figure looked blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clod-hopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron with four big pockets to hold the snips, the trowel and scratcher, the seeds and the knife she worked with. She wore heavy leather gloves to protect her hands while she worked.”(Steinbeck 1)
She was a gardener so she always had rigged clothing and changed a lot because it was torn up from gardening so much and working on the fields.



Posted by: Jorge Braham at February 9, 2015 02:55 AM

Alison Colon
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 122 CAO2
7 February 2015

8. What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

Throughout the text many clues led me to believe that the chrysanthemums symbolized Elisa. They were strong, noticeable plants, which is what Elisa always hoped to be. A major indicator that shows how desperately Elisa wants to be noticed is when she gets dressed up and ready for her husband to come home and he says she looks strong and happy as if she never did before (The Chrysanthemums 9). Elisa takes offence to the statement her husband made about her looking nice, strong and happy for once because she feels that she always has been strong and looked nice but he never looks at her like that or shows her any affection. Another clue that shows that the chrysanthemums are a representation of Elisa is by how much pride she takes in them. When the traveling man looked across her garden and pointed out her chrysanthemums she became excited and eager (chrysanthemums 5) as if the man had been looking at her that way. You can tell Elisa is yearning for the same attention her chrysanthemums get in her desperate attempt for affection from the random traveling man she just met and began trying to offer herself to (The Chrysanthemums 6). I think this is a contextual symbol that represents Elisa and all that she hopes to be and wishes for the attention they receive throughout the story. One other symbolic element in the story is the fights that her husband goes to. You can tell that Elisa takes an interest in these fights when she begins asking questions such as “Do any women ever go to these fights?” (The Chrysanthemums 10) . I believe the fights to be an interest of hers because she wants to feel strong the way that the women and men in these fights do but she’s hesitant and scared because that’s not a women’s role in society and it is out of her comfort zone. I do feel that Elisa sees the fights as a way for people to notice her and see her in a new light like she has been hoping for.

Posted by: Alison Colon at February 9, 2015 08:51 AM

Amanda Cannon
Dr. Hobbs
ENC 122 Academic Writing II CA12
8 February 2015

The Chrysanthemums

Question #4: Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish
you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. /You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon.” Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being called “strong”?

Answer: Henry thought Elisa was “playing some kind of game” (Steinbeck 9), when she became upset about his compliment.

Posted by: Amanda Cannon at February 9, 2015 08:52 AM

Jan Urbaniak
Dr. Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II CA12
9 February 2015
Question: 8. What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

Answer: White Chrysanthemums in many cultures is a symbol of the death. “The man leaned farther over the fence. "Look. I know a lady down the road a piece, has got the nicest garden you ever seen. Got nearly every kind of flower but no chrysanthemums. Last time I was mending a copper-bottom washtub for her (that's a hard job but I do it good), she said to me, 'If you ever run acrost some nice chrysanthemums I wish you'd try to get me a few seeds.' That's what she told me." (Steinbeck 7) For Elisa it is rather a symbol of life. “"Why yes you can," Elisa cried. "I can put some in damp sand, and you can carry them right along with you. They'll take root in the pot if you keep them damp. And then she can transplant them." (Steinbeck 8)

Posted by: Jan Urbaniak at February 9, 2015 09:59 AM

Lois Martinez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA03
6 September 2015


Question: Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?


Answer: The three main conflicts of John Steinbeck Valley's The Chrysanthemums the upcoming foggy rain, the lack of support by the husband of Elisa, and the thrown flower on the side of the road. The time and social norms by which the story is set upon discredits women and what they ought or not to do. Therefore, Elisa struggles with being of use when she is at the house. When she is not performing her house or farm duties, she tends her garden of Chrysanthemums for sport which makes her feel important and strong. However, when her husband is present, he belittles his wife by saying that she has an amazing talent, but she should work more in the fields and raise some apples as big as her flowers, instead (Steinbeck 2). The second issue that both are facing is an upcoming foggy rain that will make harder the job of harvesting and planting—especially when she is spending more time on her flower beds than on the fields. However, the chief conflict of the story was at the dénouement part of it. When her husband and her drove by the same dirt road that the wagon of the big man had taken, she noticed a dark speck aside of the road. She knew it was the potted flowers that she had given to the bearded stranger. She felt deeply hurt after noticing that even the stranger who seemed interested in her favorite hobby belittled her talent. Therefore, she tries to compensate the pain by asking her husband about the events of their night. She acted strongly and contained her inner feelings but hid away her tears, so he could not see her cry. Elisa's dilemma went unresolved, for nobody truly appreciated her talent.

Posted by: Lois Martinez at September 6, 2015 06:00 PM

Sabrina McIntyre
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
07 September 2015

Question: For what reasons might narrator spend so much time describing Elisa's clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?

Answer: At the beginning of "The Chrysanthemums", I noticed that when Elisa's husband was speaking with the two cigarette smokers, the narrator described how manly her clothes had looked. In paraphrasing, "Her figure looked blocked and heavy in gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes[…] while she worked" (Steinbeck 1). In addition to the quote, after Elisa encountered the tinker, her mood changed; and once Henry arrived to go out to dinner, her outfit changed dramatically. For instance, in paraphrasing, the story explained, "Elisa dressed in her nicest stockings and her dress displayed how gorgeous she was. She worked on her hair piece by piece and enlightened her eyebrows and lips" (Steinbeck 8). All in all, it seems clear to me that Elisa is going through a self-esteem issue.

Posted by: Sabrina McIntyre at September 8, 2015 09:55 AM

Matthew Beebe
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 - Academic Writing II CAO3
September 8, 2015

Question: Comment on the last paragraph of the story. Why does Elisa think about/want to see a fight at the end of the story? Why does she cry weakly – like an old woman?

Answer: Elisa is a very strange and confusing character. At the end of the story, Elisa wants to go to dinner. Then they start talking about fighting and asked if women go to fights. Henry agreed to take her if she would like to go. Eventually, she breaks down into a cry. I believe that Elisa cries like on old woman because she is crushed that the Tinker was not interested in her Chrysanthemums at all. Elisa I believe felt a huge disappointment. She feels lost when she realizes that her husband will never be able to understand and see the beauty of her flowers she loves so much.

Posted by: Matthew Beebe at September 8, 2015 03:03 PM

Cannelle Samson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
9 September 2015

Question: Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big. / You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat like a watermelon.” Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being called “strong”?

Answer: As Elisa is working on her garden of Chrysanthemums, Henry appears and admired his wives well grown flowers. Henry compliments Elisa and says, “I wish you’d work out in the orchard raise some apples that big.” I believe that Henry is trying to express to his wife the admiration he has for her planting skills. In some way, he is probably encouraging her to work in the orchards.
After getting ready to go to dinner with her husband, Elisa look at herself in the mirror. Her husband walks in and says, “Why—why, Elisa. You look so nice” (Steinbeck, 9). Elisa asked Henry what he means by nice, and henry replies with, “You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, and happy enough to eat like a watermelon.” As I read this quote, I believe that Henry is trying to say that Elisa looks beautiful, powerful, and happy. He is trying to pay Elisa a compliment; however, I believe he is not sure how to express it. When he says that Elisa looks strong, I believe he is trying to state that her beauty has a power of strength. I have also thought that maybe, Elisa is a muscular women. In Henry’s mind, it is probably a good thing that a women looks like she can work in a garden. Either way, Henry is trying to pay a compliment to his wife.
I believe Henry is confused when Elisa protests to being called “strong” because to Henry looking or being strong is a compliment. Elisa wants a reassurance that she is beautiful. Rather than being told she is beautiful, she is told that she is strong. However, Henry does not understand that because Henry sees strength as beauty.

Posted by: Cannelle Samson at September 8, 2015 03:06 PM

Lady Hernandez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
8 September 2015


“Her figure was blocked and heavy in her gardening costume, a man's black hat pulled low down over her eyes, clodhopper shoes, a figured print dress almost completely covered by a big corduroy apron.”

Question: What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme, which theme is most prevalent?

Answer: The two themes are gender inequality and feminism. The main character Elisa is smart, energetic, and attractive. Sadly she was born into an era where men look down upon women. Her husband, henry, is the owner and caretaker of their family ranch but Elisa can see that he is not capable of running a business. Henry also treats her like a sister and not a wife since Elisa is very outspoken. Her attire also proves that she wants to be treated like another male. She has the looks of a strong women but the mind of a man. Her appearance has held her back from success and fair judgement.

Posted by: lady hernandez at September 8, 2015 06:06 PM

Emma Duncan
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA03
8 September 2015

Question: What could Elisa’s taking a bath after the tinker’s departure signify? What does Steinbeck’s description of Elisa’s looking at herself in the mirror reveal about her? Why do her actions and speeches confuse Henry?

Answer: Elisa bathing after the tinker left signifies a shedding of her old self. When she is done, she admires herself in the mirror, appreciating her femininity. Her attraction to the Tinker made her realize what a passionless relationship she has with her husband, Henry. That gave her the idea to get all dressed up in her fancy dress and put makeup on for her night out with Henry. She even asked if they could have wine with dinner. Elisa is clearly trying to spruce up the relationship. When she is done getting ready for dinner the best thing Henry can come up with is, “You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon” (Steinbeck, 9). No woman wants to hear that from their husband. Henry is missing all Elisa’s hints, and that is why he is so confused. You can tell he is confused because Steinbeck writes, “He looked bewildered. ‘You’re playing some kind of a game’” (Steinbeck, 9). He doesn’t understand her needs aren’t being met. Elisa wants to feel wanted. Finally, she hits her breaking point in the car when she sees that the tinker threw out the flowers she gave him. She felt rejected. In Steinbeck’s last sentence he stresses Elisa’s sadness by writing, “She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly” (Steinbeck, 11).

Posted by: Emma Duncan at September 8, 2015 08:02 PM

Luis Bautista
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 – English Composition
8 September 2015
Henry stopped short and looked at her. "Why—why, Elisa. You look so nice!" "Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by 'nice'?"
Henry blundered on. "I don't know. I mean you look different, strong and happy." "I am strong? Yes, strong. What do you mean 'strong'?" (Steinbeck 9).
Question; Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?
Answer; During the story, Elisa seems to be in love with Henry and she shows it. However, Henry might be in love as much as Elisa but either he doesn’t love her as much as she does, or he doesn’t know how to show it. It’s evident how Elisa feels neither appreciated nor loved by the way she talked to the lost stranger when he stopped by her husband farm. She finally seems to have something in common and to talk about without anybody besides his husband. In the citation above it’s noticeable that Henry doesn’t even know how to make a compliment to his wife. Elisa is clearly not happy with this man that makes her look at herself as a man and not as a woman. I believe Henry sees her just as a woman that helps him with the farm and not as his wife. However, he tries to show appreciation by taking her to dinner.

Posted by: Luis Bautista at September 8, 2015 09:01 PM

Johnny Nguyen
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA10
8 September 2015

Question: For this question, let’s consider and apply the SLU Core Values. Analyze, and then discuss, the tinker’s character in relation to the following passage from the story:
“She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, “He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn't have been much trouble, not very much. But he kept the pot,” she explained. “He had to keep the pot. That's why he couldn’t get them off the road.”

Answer: Tinker’s character sounds cruel and heartless. He apparently killed them by throwing them off the road, and kept the pot but he couldn’t kill them and throw them off without getting it. He lacks excellence because he obviously killed them, community with no disregards to those around him, and personal development and integrity.

Posted by: Johnny Nguyen at September 8, 2015 10:34 PM

Zach Pottle
Professor Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
8 September 2015

Question:

What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?

Answer:

Elisa’s meaning of “planting hands” is about her ability to care for plants without even thinking about it. She tells the reader this when talking to the man, “You watch your fingers work. They do it themselves” (Steinbeck 6). The tinker does not fully understand her when she is trying to describe what planting hands are. He tries to relate it to his work on the wagon, but it is not clear if he understands thoroughly.

Posted by: Zachary Pottle at September 9, 2015 01:14 AM

Connor Laramie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II
09-09-2015
“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck
Question: 7) What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?Answer: The purpose of including dogs in the story is to show how they symbolize Elisa’s interaction with her and the tinker. Their significance is to show that she is more superior than the tinker by the way she is smarter and she can do about as much as he can do.

Posted by: Connor Laramie at September 9, 2015 09:27 AM

Catalina Suarez
Professor Hobbs
ENG 122
9 September 2015

Chrysanthemums Question(s)
Question: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: The details that appear of Elisa’s physical description are, “her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water.” It then goes on describing to what she is wearing which is her heavy, not formfitting gardening costume. She is described as a very robust person and a very hard worker. She works really hard in her garden and it shows with how well her chrysanthemums bloom and she also works hard around the ranch. I feel like in this story she is a very knowing person and she seems frustrated that shes trapped with the life she has now. She argues with her husband, Henry, when he says little things like, “Why why Elisa. You look so nice!” Henry does truly care about Elisa but I think that Elisa wants something different in her life or for someone who would appreciate her differently than how the people in her life currently treat her.

Posted by: Catalina Suarez at September 9, 2015 09:37 AM

Zach Pottle
Professor Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
8 September 2015
Question:
What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?
Answer:
Elisa’s meaning of “planting hands” is about her ability to care for plants without even thinking about it. She tells the reader this when talking to the man, “You watch your fingers work. They do it themselves” (Steinbeck 6). The tinker does not fully understand her when she is trying to describe what planting hands are. He tries to relate it to his work on the wagon, but it is not clear if he understands completely.

Posted by: zachary Pottle at September 9, 2015 09:44 AM

Tannor Berry
ENG 122 CA03
Robert’s
“Character Theory Chapter”

Question: We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.
Answer: In the story “The Chrysanthemums” the Tinker is considered to be the antagonist. Even though the Tinker is hardly confrontational throughout the story, the times that he is; he quivers the way of Elisas’ thinking. Elisa wants to connect with him on an emotional and physical level which the Tinker makes it hard for her to do so. For example, the Tinker trashed her flowers because in his eyes he was just being “sensible,” the pot he can use and the flowers were just for decoration. This caused trouble for Elisa and makes it difficult for her to understand. The Tinker destroyed her Chrysanthemums and Steinbeck leaves us to see how Elisa’s’ mind became dark and dreary.

Posted by: Tannor Berry at September 9, 2015 09:44 AM

Group 2: Hana Lee, Maria, Necdet
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA09
9 September 2015

“Her eyes sharpened. “Maybe I could do it, too. I’ve a gift with things, all right. My mother had it. She could stick anything in the ground and make it grow. She said it was having planters’ hands that knew how to do it.”
“Well, it sure works with flowers,” he said.
“Do you see? Your fingers and the plant. You can feel that. When you’re like that you can’t do anything wrong. Do you see that? Can you understand that?”
“The man’s eyes narrowed. He looked away self-consciously. “Maybe I know,” he said.
“He said, “It’s nice, just like you say. Only when you don’t have no dinner, it ain’t.”

Question #9: What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker understand her explanation of them?

Answer: The expression, “planting hands” is meant to “stick anything in the ground and made it grow.” When the tinker was asked by Elisa if he understood her description, he answered with, “Maybe I know” (Steinback 6-7). But as she compares planting hands to his lifestyle, he diagnoses when he responds, “It’s nice, just like you say. Only when you don’t have no dinner, it ain’t (Steinback 7).

Posted by: Hana Lee at September 9, 2015 04:24 PM

Peyton Farrier, Lawrence Watt, Sidnee Yaeger
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA09

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the
story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them?
What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of
her?

Answer: In the beginning they both seemed supportive of each other. For example, Elisa asks Henry “who the men he was talking to were.” He then replies, “They were from the Western Meat Company. I sold those thirty head of three-year-old steers. Got nearly my own price, too” Elisa then said “Good, Good for you” (Stienbeck 2). Toward the middle of the story, Henry compliments Elisa on her appearance saying that she looked nice, and her response was questioning him saying “Nice? You think I look nice? What do you mean by ‘nice’?” (Stienbeck 9). At the end of the story, she became weaker and sensitive as a person. “She turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly like an old woman” (Stienbeck 10). Even though she became unhappy with who she was, Henry still saw her as a strong, beautiful, talented women.

Posted by: Peyton Farrier at September 9, 2015 06:02 PM

Jorge, Brittany, Jacie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-122 Academic Writing CA09
9 September 2015

Group 1
Question 14:
We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist? Be ready to fully explain your answer.
Answer :
The antagonist is a female stereotype. As you read along Elisa struggles through the traditional female stereotype. Even though the stereotype is not a female being she is the antagonist. Elisa want nothing to do with that part. She tries to hide herself with unflattering clothes to draw attention from herself. She tries to prove herself to others, she doesn’t want to seem like she needs others to help her. Though Elisa has trouble keeping up with this hard exterior. She slacks off though when her husband comes back from working. she likes to doll herself up " after a while she began to dress, slowly. She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness" (Steinbeck 8). He comments that she looks "nice"( Steinbeck 9) also "Strong" (Steinbeck 9). Elisa is actually confused because she doesn’t want to seem "strong" or "nice". She want to show that she is a strong and capable woman. Toward the end Elisa begins to cry because she is not sure what she want or should be.



Posted by: Jorge braham at September 9, 2015 07:50 PM

Brad
Mike
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA-09
9/9/15

Group 7
Question #1

Exposition is "a comprehensive description of an idea or theory." (google) The beginning of the story is an exposition which in detail talks about the weather and geographical settings. There is rain, fog, and air. Fog symbolizes isolation from world and surroundings. "Grey flannel fog closed off Salinas Valley from sky and world." (Steinbeck 1) The air was cold and tender. "The air was cold and tender." (Steinbeck 1) Weather describes how she feels and what mood she has been in. She has been depressed because she has not been doing much work and is not really useful. "Elisa wanted them then went back to her work. She was thirty-five, her face was lean and strong." (Steinbeck 1) The description of weather foreshadows the story because in beginning the reader doesn't truly understand the position Elisa is currently in with her feelings, but towards the end of the story you get to find out her mood.

Posted by: Brad McAvoy at September 9, 2015 09:35 PM

Zekeriya Kayaselcuk, Connor
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA 09
10 September 2015

Question: For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa's clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?

Answer: The narrator focused on Elisa's clothing in a very descriptive manner. The reason for this is because the narrator also described her character while describing her clothing. For example, while Elisa was gardening, the narrator described her as a strong and handsome woman in the beginning. "Her face was eager and mature and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful." (Steinbeck pg. 1). Another example is after Elisa met a random tinker, the Tinker told Elisa that his job was not right for women. Elisa was hurt and a little eager to show the Tinker what a woman is capable of doing. Then her feminine side was awoken, Elisa decided to dress up for the dinner her husband arranged. "She put on her newest underclothing and her nicest stockings and the dress which was the symbol of her prettiness. She worked carefully on her hair, pencilled her eyebrows and rouged her lips." (Steinbeck pg. 8).

Posted by: Zekeriya Kayaselcuk at September 10, 2015 09:06 PM

Anayah McKenzie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA03
10 September 2015

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

In the first conversation, Henry said, "Some of those yellow chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big" (Steinbeck 2), this indicated that he was not too fond of her growing orchard and he wish she would do more work to make money. Henry also started off the conversation by saying, “At it again” (Steinbeck 2), referring to the garden, which indicated she gardened often. In the second conversation, it revealed how he sees Elisa as strong and happy (Steinbeck 9), which means he looks at her more physically as manly build. Additionally, it seems as if he does not know how to talk to Elisa. Elisa and Henry seems to have a strange relationship. At one moment they seem to be having a normal relationship; however, Henry says something offensive to Elisa which makes her sad and upset. On the other hand, they seem rather devoted to one other since they go out to celebrate and he seems to be mindful of her not wanting to go to fights (Steinbeck 3). In the last conversation Henry stated, “"Now you're changed again, I ought to take you in to dinner oftener. It would be good for both of us. We get so heavy out on the ranch” (Steinbeck 10), indicates he think she had mood swings. However, he loves when his wife is happy.

Posted by: Anayah McKenzie at September 10, 2015 09:34 PM

Group 5
Daniel Wright, Shyiem-Akiem Brown
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA09
11 September 2015

Question: What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?



Answer: The dogs symbolize the conflict between Elisa and the tinker. Elisa's dogs are stronger and more restrained than the tinker’s dog, just as she is a more vigorous person than the tinker. The comparison of the dogs to their owners foreshadows how the scene will progress. At first, Elisa’s dogs are on guard and quickly run out to confront the apparent threat of the newcomer dog (Steinbeck 3). In the end, the tinker's dog backs off, intimidated by the two farm dogs. "Now the newcomer dog, feeling outnumbered, lowered his tail and retired under the wagon with raised hackles and bared teeth" (Steinbeck 3). Elisa's dogs leave the tinker's dog alone because they do not see it as a threat anymore. Just as how the dogs lower their guard so does Elisa. This symbolizes how she began to trust the tinker and blindly let him swindle her out of fifty cents and the Chrysanthemums she grew.

Posted by: Daniel Wright at September 11, 2015 01:26 AM

Shania Bienaime, Anayah Mckenzie
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA09
10 September 2015

Group 6

Question: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she? Explain the dynamic nature of her development.
Answer: In the early paragraphs of Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck, Elisa was physically described as thick in size. It also stated that she wore baggy clothes, a man’s hat when she worked in the garden which states that she was serious about gardening. She was also described as strong and hands. “She took off a glove and put her strong fingers down into the forest of new green chrysanthemum sprouts that were growing around the old roots.” (Steinbeck 2) She was on the manly side being husky and strong but also passionate when it comes to the plants. She was devoted to her husband, but she also feels less of a person while being with him. For instance when the tinker came by she seemed more alive and she also was flirting because he took interest in her and her garden (Steinbeck 6). Elisa as a character she seems physically strong; however mentally a little weak, because when her husband told her she looked strong and happy, she seemed gravely upset at his remarks. She also identifies as being a woman but most times come off as seeming manly. Elisa went from being enthused by her gardening and conversation with a stranger, to her getting emotional and her start thinking about her life choices. In the middle of the story she made a comment that says, "Goodbye—good-bye. “Then she whispered, "That's a bright direction. There's a glowing there." (Steinbeck 8). This shows that she was not happy with the decisions she made in life

Posted by: Shania Bienaime, Anayah Mckenzie at September 11, 2015 02:35 PM

Randawnique Coakley
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA06
25 January 2015

Question: 13 Identify as many conflicts as you can in this short story. What is the chief conflict? In the dénouement part of the structure, how is it resolved (or, is it resolved)?

Answer: In this short story, "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck, there are not many conflicts in this short story. In fact, I thought a conflict would be the fog mentioned at the beginning of the story; however, it is not because the weather is not a problem for any character. However, the chief conflict is the struggle between Elisa and herself or her feelings. In the story, she seems attracted to the tinker; however, she is in fact married, rather unhappily, which creates the main conflict. In fact, at first, Elisa seems wary of this mysterious man but when the tinker inquires about the chrysanthemums, her "irritation and resistance melted from Elisa's face" (Steinbeck 5) . His concern and interest in something she admires, the chrysanthemums makes her grew interest in and a connection between him. Moreover, gradually she grows to admire him more, and this is shown when they talk about flower pots and "her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair" (6). Steinbeck illustrates her passion in her eyes and shows her shedding the male exterior or look to appear more feminine in front of the tinker. She is clearly attracted to him; however, she is married and this is a struggle in herself. She asks how his lifestyle is and how would a woman fit with his lifestyle(7).This suggests she wishes that she could live the adventurous lifestyle with this mysterious tinker. This internal conflict is also illustrated when the tinker is leaving and she as she watches him leave, she whispers to herself and "shook herself free and looked about to see whether anyone had been listening" (8). Here, Steinbeck portrays Elisa having an internal battle with her feelings and feels guilty because she is married. However, the conflict is not actually resolved because in the end she is still struggling with her feelings for the tinker and "she turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman" (11). This implies that she is still struggling with her feeling, and because of this, she is eventually unhappy and depressed.

Posted by: Randawnique Coakley at January 23, 2016 07:24 PM

Vincia Mitchell
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing 11 CA06
23 January 2016

Question: Elisa speaks to Henry at the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, and again at the end. What do these conversations reveal about them? What kind of relationship does Elisa have with Henry? What is his view of her?

Answer: In the text, “The Chrysanthemums”, it is clear to the reader that there is some sort of connection between Elisa and Henry, based on their conversations throughout the story. Furthermore, they have an intimate relationship which is based on mutual trust and a lot of communication, which indicates that both partners are interested in each other, and they valued their relationship. It became a lot more vivid that Henry valued his relationship with Elisa when he proposed that they go into Salinas for dinner at a restaurant (Steinbeck 2). Lastly, Henry thinks highly of his wife, Elsa. He complements her by stating, “you’ve got a gift with things” (2). The use of the word gift indicates that Henry thinks Elisa is talented, and he admires her talent.

Posted by: vincia mitchell at January 23, 2016 11:30 PM

Heather Hauck
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA06
24 January 2016

Question #2: Identify the details of Elisa’s physical description in the earlier paragraphs of
the story and discuss what it reveals about her as a wife and a gardener. How
would you describe Elisa as a character? What kind of person is she?
Explain the dynamic nature of her development.

Answer: Elisa was a quiet, submissive farm wife yet described as having a “lean and strong” face (Steinbeck). The metaphorical depiction of her eyes alludes to perhaps a lost soul and, to keep her sanity; she works in her garden. All she has left is her chrysanthemums. I got a sense of tension between Elisa and her husband; especially when he approached her after his business meeting, “her terrier fingers” were killing any sign of life (Steinbeck 2). She is obviously upset about something, but she does not say anything at first. At this point, she put her glove back on, almost as if she was ready for a fight. She eventually asked her husband about the meeting, but he blew her off, and she continued to work in her flower bed. The turning point in the story is when she meets the repair man, and she starts to gather a few chrysanthemums for his acquaintance. As she begins to explain how to care for the flowers, her emotions filled her with so much joy and happiness she becomes somewhat sexually passionate and bold as she reached for the repair man (Steinbeck 6-7). He lit a fire inside her that she did not know she had until that moment. Through their discourse of handy-work, she realized the possibilities before her, as she stated, “That’s a bright direction. There’s a glowing there” (Steinbeck 8). She knows she lost her opportunity and hurriedly prepares for her night out. Elisa is a round, dynamic character. In the beginning, she is silent and submissive and clean and tidy, but as she discovers her hard-working traits similar to the repair man she becomes stronger and confidently outspoken.

Posted by: Heather Hauck at January 24, 2016 09:15 PM

Phillip Moss
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA06
24 January 2016

Question: We know Elisa is the protagonist of this short story. Who or what is the antagonist? Be ready to explain fully your answer.

Answer: In the short fictional work “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, Elisa Allen the protagonist in the story is a strong willed, and sophisticated woman who's intelligence is consistently ignored by men. The antagonist in the story can bee seen as the ignorance in the men Elisa meets. She spends her day working on her Chrysanthemums only to have her talent seen as a woman’s hobby

"“You've got a gift with things,"
Henry observed. "Some of those yellow
Chrysanthemums you had this year were ten inches across. I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big." Her eyes sharpened. "Maybe I could do it,too. I've a gift withthings, all right. My mother had it. She could stick anything inthe ground and make it grow. She said it was having planters' hands that knew how to do it."

"Well, it sure works with flowers," he said.”" (Steinbeck 2)

Posted by: Phillip Moss at January 24, 2016 10:06 PM

Clark de Bullet
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA06
24 January 2016

Chrysanthemums

Question #8: What might the chrysanthemums symbolize in this story? Would you say that they are a cultural/universal symbol or a contextual symbol? What do they mean to Elisa? Identify any other symbolic elements in the story.

Answer: The chrysanthemums symbolized everything Elisa wanted to be: strong, unyielding, and beautiful at the same time. The chrysanthemums are a contextual symbol because outside of the story, they do not mean the same thing. The flowers won’t necessarily represent what kind of person the character wants to be in a different story. To Eliza the flowers are her pride and joy as can be seen by her “smugness” when her husband compliments her work (Steinbeck 2). The broken flower pot was symbolic to Elisa’s broken dreams as she realized they would probably never come true (10). In the last scene you can see her give up hope as Eliza “turned up her coat collar so he could not see that she was crying weakly—like an old woman” (11).

Posted by: Clark de Bullet at January 24, 2016 10:09 PM

Jennifer Belcastro
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122-Academic Writing II CA06
25 January 2016

Question: Comment on what the following passages might reveal about Henry: “I wish you’d work out in the orchard and raise some apple that big. / You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon.” Why is Henry so confused when Elisa protests at being “strong”?

Answer: Henry believes his wife is strong enough to do a man's work and does not have to be discriminated because she is a woman. Henry is confused when Elisa protests being strong because she was raised to do simple jobs and not hard jobs. Elisa says, "Don't talk like that. You didn't know what you said" (Steinbeck 9). She is trying to tell her husband that she knows she is strong but does not need him to remind her.

Posted by: Jennifer Belcastro at January 25, 2016 10:55 AM

Hannah Rowe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CAO6
January 25, 2016

“The Chrysanthemums”

Q: Remember that ideas which reoccur in a narrative are known as themes.
What themes can you identify in this short story? What is the primary theme,
i.e., which theme is the most prevalent?

A: In this story, I think the most prevalent theme would be the reoccurring talk of the Chrysanthemums and how they make Elisa feel free and empowered. While she’s planting them and talking about them, she is sharing her passion with others. This is why after giving the man some Chrysanthemums and explaining to him how to raise and care for them, she exclaimed to her husband, “I’m strong, [. . .] I never knew before how strong”(Steinbeck 9). However, this is why at the end of the story, when she learns that the man just played off of her passion and excitement, feels devastated and cries “weakly-like an old woman”(11).

Posted by: Hannah Rowe at January 25, 2016 11:16 AM

Chloe Lelliott
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic writing 2 CA06
25 January 2016

Question 5) For what reasons might the narrator spend so much time describing Elisa's clothes? How does her clothing change as the story progresses?

Answer 5) Elisa's clothing in the story changes from work or gardening clothes to being dressed up like a strong beautiful women. I think the narrator goes into so much detail about Elisa's clothes because it tells us what kind of a person she is. When she is first described the clothing helps the narrator portray a hard working, middle aged woman with little confidence. I say little confidence because in the text it says she is wearing "a man's black hat pulled low over her eyes" telling us she doesn't want people to see her face, indicating that she has low self esteem.

Towards the end of the story, you can tell her confidence has grown when she makes effort with her appearance and she is taken back when someone says that she looks nice. Therefore even though her confidence has grown, she still cannot believe someone says she looks nice.

Posted by: Chloe Lelliott at January 25, 2016 12:20 PM

Justin Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA06
25 January 2016

Question: 9.) What is meant by the expression “planting hands”? Does the tinker
understand her explanation of them?

Answer: 9.) What is meant of the term “planting hands” is your fingers are doing the work themselves its like you're doing nothing, but they keep going and going and don't make a mistake. When it feels like your hands just know what do automatically and you don't even have to do it and no mistakes are being made. Tinker does understand her explanation of planting hands, he relates it to when he's in the wagon.

Posted by: Justin Robinson at January 25, 2016 02:26 PM

Phillip Moss Clark de Bullet
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing CA06
29 January 2016

Question: A. Who is the roundest? Who is the flattest? B. What is the point of view? Is there more than one?
Answer: The roundest character is Elisa Allen, The story is told from her perspective, and she is the obvious protagonist. The flattest characters in the story would be the sales people mentioned at the beginning of the story. They were merely acknowledged at the beginning they did absolutely nothing. The point of view comes from Elisa Allen. The narrator has a first person view is not Omniscient and tells the story as it unfolds.

Posted by: Phillip Moss at January 29, 2016 03:13 PM

Nastassja Sielchan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA06
25 January 2016

Question: What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story? What is their significance?

Answer: The significance of dogs in this story because the dogs represent Elisa and the tinker. Elisa’s dogs represent her as they are stronger than the tinker’s mongrel. Elisa is smarter, wittier, and more robust of a person compared to the tinker. Steinbeck explains, “The rangy dog darted from between the wheels and ran ahead. Instantly the two ranch shepherds flew out at him” (Steinbeck 3).

Posted by: Nastassja Sielchan at February 4, 2016 01:12 PM

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