What is the significance of chrysanthemums in "Odour of Chrysanthemums"?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the short story 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' by D H Lawrence, the author gives special significance to these particular flowers. He makes sure to mention them growing outside the cottage, that the mother has one in her waistband, that there is a vase of them in the cold parlour and that the vase of chrysanthemums gets knocked over - and tellingly ,that she is sure to pick them up even she still has the dead body of her husband laid out in the room to deal with. Lawrence does not speak of them in glorious autumnal terms - all garish and bright with sun. He talks of them dying, wet, dripping ,faded and brown - like the love between the woman and her husband. On one plane, they symbolize the death and parody of a loveless marriage.

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Odour of Chrysanthemums

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