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The Wonderful World of John Steinbeck

There is much fertile territory in a discussion of Elisa and the way that her surroundings seem so symbolic of her characterization. Her chrysanthemums, the way she dresses, the weather, her husband and his response to him, the tinker, the discarded flowers, the boxing match, and the wine all seem to speak of who she is and what her life has been like.

Your Task: Choose details from the story, such as those above, that speak to you about Elisa's character, who she is, what motivates her, how her situation has shaped her, and what she wants or even lacks. Include evidence from the texts to support your conclusions. Surround direct quotations with quotation marks and use MLA style in-text citations for quotations, summaries, and paraphrases from the sources.

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Dear Student,

Steinbeck is one of my favorite writers. His work is full of rich symbolism. The question is asking you to choose details from the story that shows something about who Elisa is and what she has become in the short time she talks to the tinker.

What happens to Elisa is change; she goes from a matronly wife, to a blossoming young woman, and then to an old lady, all in the matter of what appears to be a couple of hours.

So here's what you can do with the question: The evidence in mostly in the exchange between Elisa and the tinker--partly in the dialogue, but to a large extent through the discussion of the flowers and how to make them grow. Unlike the flowers, Elisa cannot grow past where is in ...

Solution Summary

How to read the story "The Chrysanthemums" by John Steinbeck

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