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The Chrysanthemums

John Steinbeck

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Elisa Allen -  The protagonist. A robust thirty-five-year-old woman, Elisa lives with her husband, Henry, on a ranch in the Salinas Valley. Even though Elisa is associated with fertility and sexuality, the couple has no children. She is a hard worker, her house sparkles, and her flowers grow tremendous blooms. Nevertheless, Elisa feels trapped, underappreciated, and frustrated with life.

Read an in-depth analysis of Elisa Allen.

The Tinker -  A tall, bearded man who makes his living repairing pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils. The tinker is a smart person and charming salesman. He is also down on his luck and not above pleading for work after Elisa initially turns him down. He may share her wanderlust, or she may only imagine that he does.

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Henry Allen -  Elisa’s husband. Henry is a kind man, if slightly dimwitted. He loves his wife but doesn’t really understand and appreciate her. Still, he is an adequate businessman who runs his ranch successfully and provides a comfortable life for his wife. He seems to love Elisa and tries his best to please her despite the fact that she mystifies him.

Read an in-depth analysis of Henry Allen.

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