Loneliness was the strongly used to convey Steinbeck's message. With loneliness as an unwanted desire, it also brings pain and sorrow within the person. With a relatable feeling that many have experienced, the stories were able to reach out to readers with using a strong emotion of loneliness.
In "The Chrysanthemums"
Elisa Allens had represented the loneliness of feeling unwanted for gender and position and had no one to understand. Elisa Allens was a character that a reader that can take pity for for the way she was treated. She was unable to have
- win romantic feelings of her one-sided love of her husband
- Be treated femininely
In the story Elisa had safely treasured her Chrysanthemums, why? With her to unable to have what she wanted, Elisa grew the flowers in the place of her own desires. In the story, a side character, the tinker, was able to help reveal the symbolism and what did the chrysanthemums meant to her.
1. The chrysanthemums had replaced the unborn children she could never had.
"What's them plants, ma'ma?' 'The irritation and resistance melted from Elisa's face. 'Oh, those are chrysanthemums, giant white and yellows. I raised them every year, bigger than anybody around here" (Steinbeck 4)
With the constant reply and answer of no to the tinker, the tinker had finally found a weakness to his opponent, Elisa Allens, and attack in purpose of his own business. From the cited quote, as the tinker asked her what plants are her beloved flowers, Elisa's started to have a the emotion of happiness or excitement to replace and chase away her irritation. With her change of emotions suddenly it was able to show that the chrysanthemums were her pride. Additionally, as Elisa had used the words "I raised them everywhere, bigger than anybody around here", it conveys to readers that they represented her children. Like children she would raise them every year. Also saying how big her flowers are compares the flowers would be similar of comparing the success of her children to others.
2. The chrysanthemums has also replaced the lack of beauty and the feminism that she was recognized for.
"Beautiful,' she said. 'Oh, beautiful.' Her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair. I'll put them in a flower pot, and you can take them right with you. Come into the yard" (Steinbeck 4).
From the text the word "beautiful" had two meanings behind it. As the word "beautiful" was said the first time it was to state the beauty of flowers, the second time she was referring towards herself. On the second time, she revealed her hair (which represented her beauty) that she had hidden through the story with a battered hat (with her hidden beauty she wasn't recognized for and locked it inside her chrysanthemums). Lastly in the last part, Elisa had invited him to her garden. A fenced sanctuary of her beloved flowers, she allowed a visitor as her pride would be able to be seen.
"He looked bewildered. You're playing some kind of game,' he said helplessly. 'It's a kind of a play. You look strong enough to break a calf over your knee, happy enough to eat it like a watermelon" (Steinbeck 7).
"Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew. She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, 'He might have thrown them off the road" (Steinbeck 7).
From both the of the cited text, the first one was her husband. From her husband, he was able to reveal a glimpse of how the lack of recognition for Elisa's feminism and any romantic feelings. The second was the tinker rejecting and shown lack of care of her feminism and her dreams. Both were able to show that Elisa was rejected of her desires in both reality and in the world/dream she built into the Chrysanthemums.
Elisa's Lonliness is to feel rejected and the pain of not being recognized as who she is. After the bitter taste of her chrysanthemums (the desires she built onto those flowers) reject and brought her to reality, had revealed her Lonliness. She wasn't able to have any children to be by her nor a husband to really be there for her.
- Lasting friendship and non-romantic affection
- Support from your family and loved ones
- Cheerfulness and good spirits, including cheering up a sad person
- Rest and recovery after a long trial or challenge
- Enduring life and rebirth, especially the birth of a child
- Loyalty and devotion, both romantic and platonic
From the meaning of the chrysanthemums, the author, Steinbeck, had used the meanings of the rebirth a children (which children were "reborn" to chrysanthemums). The loyalty and devotion and romantic (which she hold onto her husband) that are not in a sexual way. Additionally the rest of endurance of trial (Elisa's escape through chrysanthemums).
Of Mice and Men
The book written by Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, it has the strong use of loneliness. In the book, loneliness is a strong thing that can change a man's heart to coldness. What was significant was how Steinbeck was able to show the different stages of loneliness in the book.
A guy needs somebody---to be near him.' He whined, 'A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya" "I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you" (Steinbeck 72).
From the words spoken by Crooks, a person needs another person to fill in their loneliness. It wouldn't matter who they are but if they were by their side then they won't go crazy.
" 'Cause I'm black. They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me" (Steinbeck 68).
From the text, Crooks was a character that was able to reveal the last step of loneliness. In the beginning of the story he had no one to be with for a long time. He was alone due to his color and race.
"I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him.' He said proudly . . . 'Tell you what. I'll shoot him for you" (Steinbeck 44-45).
From the text, Candy was not alone because he had his beloved dog with him. He had him for so long and shared many memories with it. However later on, he lost his dog as it was shoot by another man's hands and gun. He is now lonely with no one by his side anymore. Candy would be the second step of loneliness as he had someone at the beginning but lost the, at the middle of the story.
George and Lennie
"I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you" (Steinbeck 14).
From the text, George and Lennie were dependent on each other. Lennie physically needed George due to his disability where as George needed Lennie for emotional support by his innocence and company. George and Lennie were the first step of loneliness. They were able to have each other in the beginning but one was lost in the end
From the three characters, we were able to see Steinbeck development of loneliness of the levels of beginning, middle, and end.
"Tularecito" by Steinbeck uses loneliness that is represented by Tularecito. In this story, Steinbeck mainly pinpoints towards disabilities and lonliness. In the story the main character, Tularecito, was alone due to no one understanding him completely or enough.
"The boy grew rapidly, but after the fifth year, his brain did not grow anymore . . . The long fingers of his hands were more dexterous and stronger than most men's fingers" (Steinbeck 2).
Tularecito was born different with different details and features. Due to his different capabilities and features and his disadvantages, he was treated differently.
"Thou hast said they are my people," he exclaimed, "I am not like the others at school or here. I know that. I have lonliness for my people who live deep in the cool earth. When I pass a squirrel hole, I wish to crawl into it and hide myself. My own people are like me. I must go home to them" (Steinbeck 7).
From the text of the story, it conveys that Tularecito feels lonliness. He was told by his teacher, who is a strong believer of fantasy, of people that lives deep inside of the cool earth, gnomes. As Tularecito was easily believed of her believed tales, he made a deep search of he's own "people". Where he does admits of his own loneliness and is desperate to be where he can belong.
Tularecito was different from the society he lived in. He was feared by the his teacher and he is peers, and by Pancho. He never did feel like he belonged to his society. When he had felt of hope to be able to belong and rid of the Lonliness of the pain of rejection he tried to grasp that string even though it was a spider's web. He was alone of knowing his own pain.
World Example of Lonliness
From the cute little Disney video, it conveyed to viewers of lonliness. As the volcano was happy in the in the beginning it can compared to The Chrysanthemums . The volcano had enjoyed the world he was in and the dream he built with the animals, but he got closer to his own reality he became sad. In the end he became sad (then he became happy but cut the happy ending out). It can also relate to Of Mice and Men. The dreams and hope of wanting a ranch for the previous men and George and Lennie started out happy but then it didn't work out and they gave up. Similar with the volcano it sang and sang but he never saw anyone or did anything happened, so he gave up and also had no ability to try anymore. For Tularecito, both the volcano and Tularecito tried to smile and live but they both dug their own grave. The volcano was alone because there was no one by his side.
The world's view of loneliness means to be independent and to be strong. Unlike the words of Steinbeck, it is good to be alone.
These were personal to me. It is something that us unwanted. Being alone with a pain that can't be bearable to hold within one piece. With someone they can lighten the burden and lean onto their shoulder. But with Lonliness inside our hearts, it will change us little by little as we don't care for others anymore and became cold and see things with out colors and as time will fly so fast easily. With others around memories of happiness and also of sadness can be made and know there is someone there for you.
Steinback had strongly used the motif of Lonliness. The theme I had found was Loneliness is a world of darkness of were you can only understand Pain. From the strong belief of Steinbeck- Lonliness is a process of where cruelness and coldness can develop when love and care for another is not practiced often.