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The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  572 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1979)
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Sabrina Grandia
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review is solely based on the short story “The Chrysanthemums” as it is the only part of this work I have read. Steinbeck fills the pages with imagery and truly sets you into the mind of a woman in rural-life 1930s. While meeting Elisa, you immediately see how strong and capable she is while she exudes passion. As a woman myself, I can absolutely relate to her notions and actions in the story and it’s fascinating to me how well Steinbeck was able to gather these words. Elisa is a great remi ...more
Rowland Pasaribu
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Importance of Sexual Fulfillment

Steinbeck displays an extraordinary ability to delve into the complexities of a woman’s consciousness. “The Chrysanthemums” is told in the third person, but the narration is presented almost entirely from Elisa’s point of view. After the first few paragraphs that set the scene, Steinbeck shrugs off omniscience and refuses to stray from Elisa’s head. This technique allows him to examine her psyche and show us the world through her eyes. We are put in her shoes
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
* As I've just finished "The Chrysanthemums", the below review is dedicated to "The Chrysanthemums" only.

Filled with metaphors and symbolism, "The Chrysanthemums" is an overwhelmingly realistic portrayal of a woman's struggles in a patriarchal world where intelligent women are sadly overlooked. With simple, narrative language, Steinbeck brings Elisa to life - a middle-aged woman married to a man who has absolutely no understanding of what she needs.

Throughout the text, it is apparent to reader
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
As I only read "The Chrysanthemums" (not the other stories pertained to this book), this was a wonderful read. I read the story for my Intro to Lit class, and at first didn't not grasp the symbolism, until I did my own research. After then re-reading the story once more, and re-thinking about it, the story itself finally hit me.

Elisa, I felt was deprived as a woman. Sure, this could be considered a feminist story, but I felt like it was a story about a woman who wasn't so happy with herself and
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I only read "The Chrysanthemums" but what a sad and powerful story. A person can give you confidence and just as quickly snatch it away. You have to develop confidence in yourself. I think the story is so poignant because the protagonist, Elise, is looking for assurances from her husband and the "repair man". Her physical and emotional isolation leaves her very uncertain yet she has this ability to grow and nurture chrysanthemums. Steinbeck's genius with short stories is very evident in this one ...more
Jennifer M. Hartsock
Apr 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
I didn’t catch the symbolisms at first, but skimming back over the story I was able to see better connections than before. I didn’t really enjoy the story, but it does hold symbolism and therefore fits the chapter.

Elisa seems like she’s uninterested in her husband, and seems to keep more to herself and her flowers. She meets a man who stops by who’s trying to sell pots. She becomes more “sensual”, describing how to plant the flowers in a sensual way. She also almost grabs his ankle, which shows
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
What can I say? Reading Steinback is like taking a step backwards at least 100 years into the last century. I thoroughly enjoyed these rugged little tales.
"The Murder" in particular provided a bleak reminder of the social progress women have accomplished in the United States. Steinback cleverly juxtaposes the loss of cattle to the loss of a wife. Strange. Women were actually property at one time. True to the classic double standards and the socially constructed norm of the time, the harsh dry r
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
I loved how everything was so visual and tied to nature. "Johnny Bear" was probably my favorite. Or it was the most memorable. "The Breakfast" was also really nice. I wanted to be there and taste that food...

Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-2011
I oddly enjoy Steinbeck's short works moreso than his longer works of fiction. Heck, I even liked his non-fiction better than his novels. So who am I to judge? Well, I am and I judge this 5 stars. Excellent contributions to the American canon and to short fiction.
Kat Ioannides
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I know Steinbeck isn't considered an author of strong literary merit- by no means on par with Falkner and Hemingway; but i love his writing. Maybe when I age i'll see the flaws i've read so much about, but i really enjoy this author, despite critiques. Chrysanthemums was a stand out- brilliant.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved it! Salinas valley, the kindness involved in tending an unusal flower, and the love towards a stranger which however is not appreciated. A cycle like a growing plant with a vine of feelings and movement. Bathing in the pale sunshine.
Great book
Sandi Mann
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
re-read these in The Long Valley Collection
Kaveh A. Shirazi
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I wish I read this book earlier (ZA). The Chrysanthemums is an symbolism which represents a vital abstract idea perfectly.
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
My rating does not reflect the whole book because I have not read all of the stories it reflects the story "The Chrysanthemums" which has a lot of symbolism and over all is a very well written story.
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Every once in a while you read a book or short story that you never forget. The Chrysanthemums was one of those short stories. I read it at least 10 years ago and I've never forgotten it.
Oct 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
too confusing and i hate flowers
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Heather by: a professor
Shelves: shortstories
I read only The Chrysamthemums for a college English class, but loved it... It was a haunting short story, but an enjoyable read.
Sep 29, 2007 rated it liked it
only read Chrysanthemums
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"The Chrysanthemums" is another of my all-time favorite stories.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Only read the chrysanthemums.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Actually, I only read The Chrysanthemum. This is the first Steinback's work that I read and I wasn't aware of that when I was reading it. A beautiful and sad short story, love it
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It took me 20 minute to finish this story and probably it will take me 20 years to forget about it.
John Steinbeck. Los Crisantemos.

* * * * 1/2
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Chrysanthemums is a good read. Short and to the point with a lot of meaning behind it.
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Unique symbolism and an interesting story that makes you think about your own dreams - grateful again to live in a time where women aren't stereotyped into a certain role.
Nov 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you like Steinbeck's work at all, you'll love his short stories even more. The symbols he uses and characters he paints are perfect!
Kevin Summers
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Of the three short stories that are in this book, "The Murder" is my favorite story.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
very good book.
Chris Almond
rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2012
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck

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