Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on John Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Chrysanthemums: Introduction
The Chrysanthemums: Plot Summary
The Chrysanthemums: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Chrysanthemums: Themes
The Chrysanthemums: Quotes
The Chrysanthemums: Characters
The Chrysanthemums: Symbols
The Chrysanthemums: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of John Steinbeck
Historical Context of The Chrysanthemums
Other Books Related to The Chrysanthemums
- Full Title: “The Chrysanthemums”
- When Written: 1937
- Where Written: Salinas Valley, California
- When Published: 1937
- Literary Period: Modernism
- Genre: Fiction, Short Story
- Setting: Salinas Valley, California
- Climax: Elisa discovers that the tinker has thrown her chrysanthemum sprouts onto the side of the road.
- Antagonist: The Tinker
- Point of View: Third person limited
Extra Credit for The Chrysanthemums
Steinbeck hated typewriters. Despite having the available technology, Steinbeck refused to write using a typewriter and wrote all of his works by hand. He reportedly used in excess of sixty pencils on any given day and only agreed to begin using a typewriter very late in his career when his editor, allegedly the only person who could read his handwriting, died.
Steinbeck as a secret agent. During World War II, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent and worked with the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor for what would later become the CIA. Steinbeck again offered his services to the CIA in 1952 during the Cold War while he was planning a tour of Europe. Reportedly, the Director of Central Intelligence, Walter Bedell Smith, was enthusiastic of Steinbeck’s suggestion; however, what service he provided, if any, is unknown.