Comparison of Characters Elisa and Calixta in The Chrysanthemums

The characters of Elisa and Calixta regarding the nature of their relationship with their husbands. Elisa and her husband henry have been portrayed by the author to be having a solid relationship. They both appear to be very hardworking and aggressive in their daily activities. However deep within, their relationship seems to ride on a deep misunderstanding. This is manifested when they decide to go out for dinner together and Henry compliments his wife for dressing up nicely. She, however, does not take it as a compliment owing to the fact that she expects something different which Henry seems to be completely not aware of. Despite the fact that Henry seems to be a very good man, Elisa still fills that something is seriously lacking. She appears to very vulnerable which stems from her insecurity and feeling of not being valued by her husband. Their marriage is sorely lacking in communication and true fellowship, although they clearly depend on each other and both work hard to ensure the day to day things are taken care of. They have completely lost touch in relation to their emotional bond unlike what is expected of married couples (Steinbeck, 23-46).
On her part, Calixta has been presented as a well-versed homemaker who is out to take good care of her family. She has maintained her flirt with Alcee. Just like Elisa who cannot control herself when she meets the stranger, Calixta gets instantly aroused upon setting her eyes on Alcee and they engage in sexual intercourse despite the fact that she is married to Bobino. Both women seem to care for their husbands but they fail to open up their emotional aspects to them. Both men seem completely unaware of the expectation of their husbands. Both stories portray or define the sexual standards and restraints of the late nineteenth century while also making a statement about humans’ natural tendency towards sexual passion. This is an indication that love is more resembling a force of nature that cannot be adequately be defined. Both women are physically and emotionally attached to other men who are not their husbands (Ward, 98).


Work Cited
Steinbeck, John. The Chrysanthemums. Logan, Iowa: Perfection Learning Corp, 1979. Print.
Ward, Candace. Great Short Stories by American Women. New York: Dover Publications, 1996. Print.

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