The Question and Answer section for The Chrysanthemums is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The stranger needs work, and the longer he keeps Elisa talking, the more likely she will find something for him to do. It's salesmanship.
Most women in the era were married when they were teenagers with the expectation of having children soon after. Having no children was a social stigma.
I'm sorry, there are no characters in The Chrysanthemums by the name of either Homer or Cortez.