1) Henry and Elisa’s marriage is somewhat distant and empty; Henry is very boring and traditional, leaving Elisa wanting when it comes to adventure and strength. Elisa does not get the sense of adventure that she wants from him – when she asks about the fights, she implies that she wants to go as well, but he says that they are no place for women.
2) Elisa’s bath is so intense for a couple of reasons. First, there is a part of her that wants to wash away her shame at being so attracted to the Tinker. Secondly, she also wants to look as pretty as possible for Henry, having found a new sense of adventure and fulfillment, not to mention strength. She feels better about herself, more attractive, and she wants to show it.
3) The theme of “The Chrysanthemums” is the inequality of the sexes, and how women yearn to be strong and adventurous just as much as men do.
4) The chrysanthemums are, to Elisa, the one thing she can really devote substantial energy to. Since her marriage affords her no excitement, she needs something else to devote her time to. As a result, she is excited when others can share in her joy for them, which is why she sends some sprouts along with the Tinker.
1) Dee looks down on the life that Mama and Maggie have; she feels that they are still under the thumb of white oppression, while she is adopting a traditional African name in order to selfishly place herself above Mama and Maggie, at the same time claiming to embrace her birthright.
2) Dee is selfish, outgoing, and naïve; Maggie, however, is loyal to her mother, quiet, and earnest. While Dee argues with Mama over the quilt, Maggie just offers to make more of them to replace them. This shows a dramatic difference in attitude between the two.
3) Dee wants the quilts in order to respect the heritage of her forebearers, but wants to do so by taking them away from the family who is to pass them down. She values it as a priceless relic of the African-American experience; however, Maggie views them as a vital part of her family’s life, using them for regular purposes.
4) Dee’s understanding of heritage is trying to bring oneself above the terrible events of one’s past, while respecting them and reminding themselves of what they need to overcome. It is much more related to the black experience. Maggie’s understanding of heritage involves happy memories with family, a much more personal view of her heritage.
The storm is the story is indicative of the passion and intensity of Calixta’s feelings toward Alcee, and it reflects just how chaotic and potentially destructive their night of adultery could be to her life and marriage; nonetheless, it also showcases how thrilling the moment itself is.