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1. The Chrysanthemums
On Henry Allen\'s ranch east of Salinas
Elisa plants yellow chrysanthemums as
Henry is selling thirty head of cattle to
agents of the Western Meat Company.
After he and Scotty go to round up the
cattle, a tinker shows up. He asks for
work which Elisa says she hasn\'t. He
asks for seeds for a lady on his route.
Elisa gives him seedlings with
instructions, and then she finds work for
him which he does professionally. To
celebrate the sale Henry drives her to
Salinas for dinner at the Cominos Hotel
and a movie; they drive past the tinker
on the road and she privately weeps.
2. The White Quail
Mary has her garden designed before
its lot is bought, before she\'s married.
She picks Harry because she thinks the
garden will like him. After the house is
built and the garden established Harry
finds her perfect though untouchable.
She doesn\'t care for his occupation
(making loans for cars); it\'s unfair. She
routinely locks him from her tiny
bedroom on the garden. He tries the
lock and leaves quietly. She refuses to
let him have a setter pup since it might
damage her garden. After a white quail
visits the cement pond she fears a cat
will come and asks Harry to put out
poison fish. He refuses but will try to hit
such a cat with his new air rifle. Next
morning he shoots the white quail then
tells Mary it was the cat he buried.
Mama Torres makes Emilo and Rosy
fish when they can. Pepé, who is
beautiful but lazy, is sent to Monterey
for medicine and salt. At Mrs.
Rodriguez\'s he kills a man with his
father\'s black switchblade knife. He
returns before dawn, then rides into the
high hills as his family bids him, now a
man, adios. After a day\'s riding he
sleeps and is awakened by a horse
down the trail. He rides another day
before his horse is shot out from under
him. He exchanges shots and receives a
granite splinter wound in his right hand.
He runs on for several days and is
finally shot dead.
4. The Snake
Young marine biologist Dr. Phillips
brings a sack of starfish from the tide
pool to his laboratory on the cannery
street in Monterey. The lab:
rattlesnakes, rats, cats; killing a cat.
Arrival of a tall, lean woman just as he
begins timed work making a starfish
embryo series. While she waits he
begins embalming the cat. She wants to
buy the male rattlesnake which she
wants to keep in the lab. Her snakish
behavior during the feeding annoys
Phillips. The starfish series is ruined.
She never comes back.
A cold pre-dawn, by a country road, I
see a tent with a lit campstove. A girl
nurses a baby while preparing coffee,
bread and bacon. A younger and an
older man came from the tent. I\'m
asked to breakfast. They\'re cotton
pickers, working twelve days already.
They go to work. I leave.
6. The Raid
Root and Dick head out of a packing
plant town on a dark night, stopping
finally at an abandoned store where
they put up posters. After an hour a
man warns them to leave, but they have
orders to hold it. Dick reminds Root: It
isn\'t them hitting you, it\'s the System; it
isn\'t you being busted but the Principle.
And: when it comes, it won\'t hurt. Root
greets the raiders as comrades and is hit
with a club. He stands again and passes
out. He wakes in a hospital cell. Dick
says they\'ll probably get six months.
"Forgive them" vs. "opium of the
7. The Harness
Randall\'s ranch east of Salinas and
across the river is an ideal blend of
bottomland and upland. After Peter\'s
annual business trips Emma becomes
sick for several weeks and the
neighbors bring cakes and pies. When
she dies Peter becomes hysterical.
Alone with Ed, he removes his shoulder
brace and girdle, gets whiskey from the
barn, tells of his one week a year at San
Francisco fancy houses, of his dream of
filling the bottom land with sweet peas
and the house with fat women. DeWitt
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The Chrysanthemums, Salinas, California, Pea, Chrysanthemum
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