The Odour of Chryanthemums

D.H. Lawrence

BACKGROUND

This story takes place in the early 1900's. It is in a mining village.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Elizabeth Bates: She is the main chick in the story. She is a lowly housewife. She is young.

Walter Bates: Elizabeth's husband. He is a drunk lazy bum.

Mrs. Bates: Elizabeth's mom. She is very old.

PLOT

Elizabeth and her family live in a coal mining village. Her husband works at the mines, but always blows the family money on booze. Then one day Elizabeth's dad visits. He tells her he is going to get married again. Elizabeth doesn't like the idea, because her marriage sucks and she hates marriage. Then the time of night comes when all the miners walk home. Walter does not come home, so she thinks he is at the bar getting drunk again. The kids get upset, but Elizabeth makes them happy by decorating herself with flowers (chrysanthemums) and having the kids enjoy the pretty smell. Elizabeth doesn't think the flowers smell nice because they remind her of her wedding.

Then Elizabeth goes and looks for Walter who hasn't come home. Then Elizabeth's mother-in-law comes over and tells her that something bad has happened to Walter down at the mines. They wait at home for more news. Then some guys bring in Walter's dead body. He got trapped in some cave. His death makes her reflect on how bad her marriage was, and how bad of a husband he was.

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • Walter's death is bad, but it set's Elizabeth free because she finally faced the music that her marriage sucked and life sucked. She is free.