Transformations in "The Chrysanthemums" are small, subtle, at times barely even noticeable. This is not a caterpillar-to-butterfly situation. But if we pay attention, we see that Elisa goes through a number of these small changes throughout the course of this rather short story: shifts in tone, changes in mood, transformations in appearance. She's a hard lady to peg. Each of these changes helps illustrate a different layer to Elisa's complex inner life. Each tiny transformation peels back another layer of the Elisa onion, and we hungry readers are glad for it.
Elisa doesn't change at all. She begins the story an isolated, lonely woman, and ends it just the same.
Elisa's major transformation is from a woman who is unaware of her own lack of fulfillment, to one who is painfully conscious of what her life is missing. Her transformation is really an awakening.