Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 410
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

The main character in the story “The Chrysanthemum” is a 35-year-old Elisa Allen, the main protagonist in the story. She is a woman full of life. Although married to Henry and widely associated with female fertility, her family has no children. Nonetheless, she shows unique character of a hard worker, with a home quite meticulously made. In spite of putting a brave face in public, the young woman always felt frustrated and unappreciated with her marital life. She dominates the entire story.

The setting of the story is in the State of California around Salina’s Valley. This is revealed when the surrounding is described as foggy winter environment “off Salina’s Valley”. On both sides of the Valley lay huge mountains that gave the whole setting a resemblance of a lidded pot. According to the book, the setting denoted the feeling of isolation that consumed Elisa. This feeling is further reinstated by the fence that surrounded the entire garden. Basically, the setting perfectly fits into the context of the story and the theme of it.

The story starts in the foggy winter weather of Salina’s Valley in California. Elisa is sitting in the garden cutting down stalks of Chrysanthemum plants. Her husband later joins her in the garden and helps her with the remaining work before they left for home. Shortly after arriving, a man arrives home asking to be given a job, which Elisa unfortunately does not have, and so she sends him away. However, the man gets impressed with Elisa’s flowers and congratulates her on them. It was at this point that the two engaged in a lengthy discussion that led to mutual understanding between them, especially considering that they both loved each other’s work. Nonetheless, Elisa struggles so much to hide her passions for the man from her husband.

The prominent theme in the story is “social limitations”. These are limitations that women are forced to live by in their married lives. The setting of the story, an isolated Valley, reinstates this theme as it portrays the young woman as the one, who is forced to live within the confines of her marital life. The point of view that emerges in the story is that of a third person, though purely presented in Elisa’s point of view. This allows the narrator to show the readers exactly that Elisa thinks. For instance, the frustration that is evident when she meets the man who seems to appreciate her more than the husband does

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