Reading Response journal
John Steinbeck’s “The chrysanthemums” is a short story published in 1937. In this story, the author manages his legendary motifs to write about the life of working people.
This story is narrated by Henry Allen. Elisa, and the big tinker. Elisa is working like a man with strong spirit on her husband, Henry’s ranch until Saturday afternoon for her chrysanthemum transplanting but her mind is looking forward something happenings to escape from her monotonous and simple life. In the beginning of the story, when her husband meet his strange visitors, “Elisa watched them…” and “ Elisa cast another glance toward the tractor-shed” through conversation with her husband there seems to be lack of communication. Her husband didn’t talk to her about selling their steers before he sold them to the strangers and yet he doesn’t know that Elisa doesn’t like to go the fights.
Henry is indifferent to her and she is indifferent to her husband, too.
She comes across a big stubble-bearded man, who fixes “Pots, pans, knives, sisors, lawn mores.” She changes her attitude which is against him. And she opens her mind to give the man chrysanthemum roots. Elisa recognizes the big man who is talking with herself about “planting hands” which she is proud of having them like her mother had them. Telling about the planting hands, “She was kneeling on the ground looking up at him. Her breast swelled passionately.” She feels him and moves herself. “The man’s eyes narrowed. He looked away self-consciously.” And exchanging some sexual conscious talk, Elisa can not help but “kneeling there, her hand …… dog.” Elisa expresses her love to the big man. Until she meets the big man, Elisa lived in the closed world – loveless, restless and bored rural life. So first, she is scared to talk with the man and rejects his offer to fix her thing. He concerns on chrysanthemums, which are her favorite flowers and give information of a lady, who doesn’t have Chrysanthemums make...