• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Exploration of D.H. Lawrence's, "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" brings to light the true fragrance of chrysanthemums set in contrast to Katherine Mansfield's, "The Garden Party".

Extracts from this document...


An Exploration of D.H. Lawrence's, "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" brings to light the true fragrance of chrysanthemums set in contrast to Katherine Mansfield's, "The Garden Party", which makes for an interesting discovery into the reality of human class construction and distinction through the depiction of interpersonal human relations and the effect on them of class. "From the mechanical monster terrifying the cantering colt at the beginning, (a brilliant bit of Lawrence this - demonstrating the way that the iron horse may be able to carry more than the animal but that it can't beat it's pace) to the un-weeping widow at the end, we may think that this is just a 'tale'. But hours after the story is finished, the images are still with the reader." - Helen Croom An opposition between nature and society creates the central, juxtaposing theme of D.H. Lawrence's, "The Odour of Chrysanthemums". A verification of this theme is evident in Elizabeth's recognition of the absolute differences between her world and the world of her now dead husband, based on her perceptions. Elizabeth is confronted with the shocking reality that she only knew the body of her now dead husband, but never gained knowledge of his true existence; his soul. "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" functions as a depiction of human relations and the effect on them of class, as portrayed by the third person, limited omniscient narrator. The narrator knows what the characters are thinking most of the time, usually focusing on the thoughts of one character. In "The Odour of Chrysanthemums," Elizabeth functions as the protagonist and most of what is told, is through her perspective. ...read more.


When Annie notices the flower which her mother hesitated "laying aside" and instead ironically, "pushed into her apron-band", a gender difference between Annie and John's reactions to chrysanthemums, when Annie excitedly exclaims "Oh, mother!", "You've got a flower in your apron!", is established. Annie proceeds to ask whether she can smell it, murmuring, "Don't they smell beautiful!", in which a contrast between the children's innocent reactions which we may refer to as being positive due to a "lack of life experience" and their mother's cynical remark, "No, not to me. It was chrysanthemums when I married him, and chrysanthemums when you were born, and the first time they ever brought him home drunk, he'd got brown chrysanthemums in his buttonhole." is evident. Ironically, Elizabeth seems unable to distance herself from the negative "odour" of the chrysanthemums, as is suggested by the fact that she stuck the flower into her apron regardless of her connotations associated with these flowers. Elizabeth's response demonstrates the cycle of life as she has experienced and perceived it, as well as a symbolic foreshadowing in the form of the progression of this cycle - death being the final stage, she has not yet experienced, and is thus unable to associate with at this stage. "This story mirrors its title, although the odour is not of flowers, but of the "utter separateness" of life. The use of chrysanthemums in strategic points in the plot further enhances the contrast between life and death, along with the natural beauty and industrial blight." (Amoia 2-3). ...read more.


Chrysanthemums, which bloom in the fall and then die, are symbolic in this story of the fragility of our inner lives (our subjective lives). Elizabeth Bates discovers that inside, she is a person with unique thoughts, passions and fears; her husband was just as much of an individual as she, but one whom she never really sought to know beneath the surface. Their marriage had been dead long before her husband lost his life that night in the mine. In the end, even the vase of chrysanthemums intended for aesthetic beauty within Elizabeth's home is clumsily knocked onto the floor, leaving nothing tangible behind, but an "odour". "The chrysanthemums symbolize a spot of beauty unrecognized by the myopic Elizabeth, just as she never appreciated what she could have had with Walter until it was too late." (Croom 4) "She knew she had never seen him, he had never seen her. They had met in the dark..." The chrysanthemums which had opened Elizabeth's married life had now also closed it. Elizabeth finally smells the true fragrance of chrysanthemums, and it is the odour of resolve, determination and final closure to the season in which chrysanthemums will bloom with bitterness in her life. (Amoia) Contrasting the experience of death in "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" and "The Garden Party", we come to realize that human emotion and experience is universal and similar, regardless of class distinction or barriers manifested by mankind. We, as human beings cannot escape death due to our mortality, thus we must accept that life is our immediate master and that it should be our goal to smell the true fragrance of the chrysanthemums around us, instead of being hindered by our human constructions of class, gender or race barriers. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Jane Austen essays

  1. Marriage As A Social Contract In Jane Austen's 'Pride And Prejudice'.

    is rumoured to be in receipt of a fortune of ten thousand pounds a year - it has been said by some commentators that Elizabeth Bennet merely falls prey to these mercenary desires, and engages in a marriage as a social contract, using romantic love as an excuse, not a reason, for unity with Darcy.

  2. Free essay

    Midterm Written Celebration: Jane Austen

    When Elizabeth begins to regret not being the mistress of Pemberley she has to find a way to not feel this way. As she is lost in her thoughts and rejoicing the idea of having her aunt and uncle visit she tells herself "that could never be; my uncle and

  1. Jane Austen's use of irony in Pride & Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion.

    Emma Woodhouse, the eponymous heroine (of sorts) is endowed with wealth, good looks, prestige and is, moreover, well aware of how clever she is. Anne Taylor, who had been extremely close to both Emma and her father, marries Mr Weston.

  2. Commentary on passage (A) from “Novelas Ejemplares”

    aprovechan a tales animas ..." The thieves are in no position to hold masses for other people. Despite the fact that they believe themselves to lead upright and religious lives, the morality of their profession as well as their deception of the church lead one to conclude that they are hypocritical and highly immoral.

  1. "Austen creates intensely personal microcosms of intensely political macrocosms." Discuss in relation to Pride ...

    Equally, Lydia and Catherine's indifference - "neither the letter nor its writer were to any degree interesting" - is undoubtedly a manifestation of their childish self-absorption. Mrs Bennet's reaction is suitably overblown, just as Mary's, at the other end of the scale, is characteristically sombre and formal: "in point of composition...his letter does not seem defective".

  2. Discuss the ways in which marriage is represented in Pride and Prejudice.

    'My child let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life' (pg 365) He does not want his daughter to be in a relationship where she does not respect her husband and have him respect her in return as he does not respect his wife.

  1. 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman' (De Beauvoir 1949) How does ...

    Elinor, on the other hand, possessing 'strength of understanding and coolness of judgement' (p.4) already, needs the emotional turmoil of her relations with Edward Ferrars to realise her strength of feeling and emotion. So, in this way, the sisters end up with a counterbalance, to make them realise that one cannot simply be just 'sense' or 'sensibility'.

  2. "Words don't come easy": Emotional Education in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

    Physical type of nonverbal communication: The major types of non-verbal communication are mentioned in Verderbers? book: it says that body motions include eye contact, facial expression, gesture and posture (p. 125). These are the ones that can be identified with Porter?s term ?the physical type of nonverbal communication?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work