American author John Steinbeck’s short story, “The Last Chrysanthemums”What is the purpose of including the dogs in the story?
By including the dogs in the story, Steinbeck wants to convey Elisa’s feeling of guilt or desire to escape from her role as a housewife and experience adventure. Elisa “shook herself free and looked about to see whether anyone had been listening. Only the dogs had heard” (“The Last Crysanthemums”). Since the dogs are the only props in the story that know of this information, and is not able to communicate it, the dogs also symbolize Elisa’s inner feelings and her inability to communicate it. As the dogs continue to be present throughout the story, so does Elisa’s desire to want to escape, but her inability to do so. Therefore, the dogs act as “quiet” reminders of Elisa’s deep-seated desire. Like the dogs that bark and dart from the wheels, there are times when Elisa hints at her desire, and her willingness to escape, though she never truly acts on it.