When Walter dies in "Odour of Chrysanthemums," Elizabeth realizes in the end that she has shared nothing with her husband. She thinks, "And she knew what a stranger he was to her. In her womb was ice of fear, because of this separate stranger with whom she had been living as one flesh." While she has had two children with her husband and is pregnant with another, she realizes that she has never truly known him.
After having this epiphany, Elizabeth will likely go on to lead a more authentic life. She thinks, "She had refused him as himself.—And this had been her life, and his life.—She was grateful to death, which restored the truth. And she knew she was not dead." In other words, she had never accepted her husband for who he was, and she will be more likely to accept others as they really are in the future. However, as she will have three children to raise on her own, she may dedicate herself to that task rather than looking for a relationship. The character of Elizabeth is still relevant today, as many people get into relationships with people they do not really know as people and continue to conduct these relationships as virtual strangers to each other.
The following quotes show anger and resentment in the story:
“No,” she said, “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 button-hole.”
“It is a scandalous thing as a man can’t even come home to his dinner! If it’s crozzled up to a cinder I don’t see why I should care. Past his very door he goes to get to a public-house, and here I sit with his dinner waiting for him—”
"Her heart burst with anger at their father who caused all three such distress. The children hid their faces in her skirts for comfort."
This story shows Elizabeth's regrets about her life, while D. H. Lawrence advocates a life of no regrets. He advocates the kind of life in which unions are based on intimacy, while Elizabeth only had physical but not psychological intimacy with her husband. Lawrence advocates being "fully alive," in a way Elizabeth never has been, as her marriage has been a union of strangers in which she felt spiritually dead.