The Chrysanthemums Criticism

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Steinbeck knew as soon as he finished writing "The Chrysanthemums" that he had created something special. In a letter to his friend George Albee he wrote, "I shall be interested to know what you think of the story, 'The Chrysanthemums.' It is entirely different and is designed to strike without the reader's knowledge. I mean he reads it casually and after it is finished feels that something profound has happened to him although he does not know what or how. It has had that effect on several people here." Over the next six decades, enough critics have attempted to pin down that "something profound" to create what has been called a "small critical industry" devoted to this one story.

Immediate response to the story, and to The Long Valley, the collection in which it appeared, was positive. Elmer Davis, in The Saturday Review of Literature, called the...

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This section contains 756 words
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The Chrysanthemums from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.