John Steinbeck (). The Chrysanthemums ~ A Classic American Short Story by John Steinbeck (). The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed . Free summary and analysis of the events in John Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums that won’t make you snore. We promise. The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories has ratings and 29 reviews. Sabrina said: This review is solely based on the short story “The Chrysanthemums” as.

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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.

On the broad, level land floor the gang plows bit deep and left the black earth shining like metal where the shares had cut. On the foothill ranches across the Salinas River, 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.

It was a time of quiet and of waiting. The air was cold and tender. A light wind blew up from the southwest so that the farmers were mildly hopeful of a good rain steinveck long; but fog and rain did not go together. The cattle on the higher slopes were becoming shaggy and rough-coated. Elisa Allen, working in her flower garden, looked down across the yard and saw Henry, her husband, talking to two men in business suits. The three of them stood by the tractor shed, each man with one foot on the side of the little Fordson.

Steinbek smoked cigarettes and studied the machine as they talked.

Elisa watched them for a moment and then went back to her work. Her face was lean and strong and her eyes were as clear as water. She wore heavy leather gloves to protect her hands while she worked.

She looked down toward the men by the tractor shed now and then. Her face was eager and ateinbeck and handsome; even her work with the scissors was over-eager, over-powerful.

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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. Elisa cast another glance toward the sfeinbeck shed.

The strangers were getting into their Ford coupe. 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.


She spread the leaves and looked down among the close-growing stems. No aphids were there, no sowbugs or snails or cutworms.

Her terrier fingers destroyed such pests before they could get started. He had come near quietly, and he leaned over the wire fence that protected her flower garden from cattle chrysanthsmum dogs and chickens. Elisa straightened her back and pulled on the gardening glove again. My mother had it.

She could stick anything in the ground and make it grow. They were from the Western Meat Company. I sold those thirty head of three-year-old steers. Got nearly my own price, too. Henry put on his joking tone. Chrysanthemu heard her husband calling Scotty down by the barn. And a little later she saw the two men ride up the pale yellow hillside in search of the steers. There was a little square sandy bed kept for rooting the chrysanthemums.

With her trowel she turned the soil sgeinbeck and over, and smoothed it and patted it firm. Then she dug ten parallel trenches to receive the sets. Back at the chrysanthemum bed she pulled out the little crisp shoots, trimmed off the leaves of each one with her scissors and laid it on zteinbeck small orderly pile.

A squeak of wheels and plod of hoofs came from the road. The country road ran along the dense bank of willows and cotton-woods that bordered the river, and up this road came a curious vehicle, curiously drawn. It was an old spring-wagon, with a round canvas top on it like the cover of a prairie schooner.

It was drawn by an old bay horse and a little grey-and-white burro. A chhrysanthemum stubble-bearded man sat between the cover flaps and drove the crawling team. Underneath the wagon, between the hind wheels, a lean and rangy mongrel dog walked cbrysanthemum.

Words were painted on chgysanthemum canvas in clumsy, crooked letters. The black paint had run down in little sharp points beneath each letter. Elisa, squatting on the ground, watched to see the crazy, loose-jointed wagon pass by. It turned into the farm road in front of her house, crooked old wheels skirling and squeaking. The rangy dog darted from between the wheels and ran ahead. Instantly the two ranch shepherds flew out at him.

Then all three stopped, and with stiff and quivering tails, with taut straight legs, with ambassadorial dignity, they slowly circled, sniffing daintily. Now the newcomer dog, feeling outnumbered, lowered his tail and retired under the wagon with raised hackles and bared teeth.

The man caught up her laughter and echoed it heartily. He climbed stiffly down, over the cyrysanthemum. The horse and the donkey drooped like chryasnthemum flowers.

Elisa saw that he was a very big man.

“The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck | Literary Fictions

Although his hair and beard were graying, he did not look old. His worn black suit was wrinkled and spotted with grease. The laughter had disappeared from his face and eyes the moment his laughing voice ceased. His eyes were dark, and they were full of the brooding that gets in the eyes of teamsters and of sailors. The calloused hands he rested on the wire fence were cracked, and every crack was a black line. He took off his battered hat. Elisa stood up and shoved the thick scissors in her apron pocket.


He drew a big finger down the chicken wire and made it sing. I go from Seattle to San Diego and back every year. Takes all my time. About six months each way. I aim sheinbeck follow nice weather. Elisa took off her gloves and stuffed them in the apron pocket with the scissors. He leaned confidentially over the fence. I mend pots and sharpen knives and scissors. You got any of them things to do? I got a special tool. But it sure does the trick.

His face fell to an exaggerated sadness. His voice took on a whining undertone. I know folks on the highway clear from Seattle to San Diego. They save their things for me to sharpen up because they know I do it so good and save them stejnbeck.

His eyes left her face and fell to searching the ground. They roamed about until they came to the chrysanthemum bed where she had been working. I raise them every year, bigger than anybody around here. The man leaned farther over the fence. 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.

And then she can transplant them. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her cchrysanthemum pretty hair.

Come into the yard. While the man came through the picket fence Elisa ran excitedly along the geranium-bordered path to the back of the house.

The Chrysanthemums and Other Stories by John Steinbeck

And she returned carrying hcrysanthemum big red flower pot. The gloves were forgotten now. She kneeled on the ground by the starting bed and dug up the sandy soil with her fingers and scooped it into the bright new flower pot. Then she picked up the little pile of shoots she had prepared. With her strong fingers she pressed them into the sand and tamped around them with her knuckles.

The man stood over her. These will take root in about a month. Then she must set them out, about a foot apart in good rich earth like this, see?