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Symbolism in Odour of Chrysanthemums Essay


First, the chrysanthemums symbolize Elisa's children. She tends her garden and handles the chrysanthemums with love and care, just as she would handle her own children. Elisa is very protective of her flowers and places a wire fence around them; she makes sure. The pests represent natural harm to the flowers, and, just as any good mother, she removes them before they can harm her children. The chrysanthemums are symbolic of her children, and she is very proud of them. When Elisa's husband compliments her on her flowers, she is proud. She is happy and pleased by her ability to nurture these beautiful flowers. Elisa's pride in her ability to grow such beautiful flowers strengthens the fact that the flowers are a replacement for her children.

In the second part of the story, the chrysanthemums come to symbolize Elisa's femininity and sexuality. The picture of Elisa caring for the flowers as they are her children is clearly a feminine image, but her masculine image is also shown in her home. This image is carried over into her relationship with her husband. Elisa feels that Henry doesn't recognize or appreciate her femininity, and this feeling causes her to be strong towards him. There is a feeling of dislike towards her husband. Henry fails to see his weakness, but Elisa fails to point them out to him. There is a distinct lack of agreement between them, which causes Elisa to become unhappy with Henry.

Henry's failure to understand Elisa's needs leaves her weak in her meeting with the tinker. The meeting with the tinker renews Elisa's feelings of femininity and sexuality as a woman. Her battle to his ordinary matters disappears after the tinker romantically describes the chrysanthemums as a quick puff of colored smoke. By admiring the chrysanthemums, he symbolically admires her. By giving him the red flower pot with the chrysanthemums, she gives him the symbol of her inner-self. She begins to feel hope for herself and her marriage as the tinker leaves. She sees a bright direction and a new beginning for her marriage. The encounter with the tinker gives Elisa hope and causes her to prepare for a more fulfilling life.

In conclusion, The Chrysanthemums, symbolize Elisa's role as a woman. First they symbolize her children; later they represent her femininity and sexuality. Elisa feels frustrated with her life because children and romance are missing in her marriage with Henry. Further, her husband fails to appreciate her feminine behavior and her emotional needs. The encounter with the tinker bring back her sexuality and brings hope to Elisa for a more exciting and romantic marriage, but her understanding that her life is not going to change is clear when she sees the flowers thrown on the road. It ruins her completely to have to settle for such a difficult life.

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