Here as elsewhere, Lawrence uses imagery drawn from the natural world to illustrate a theme. The characters in the story are very much a product of their landscape: the harsh, unforgiving environment of the Nottinghamshire coal-fields. The local mine dominates life in this community. The men who work there toil for long hours in dangerous conditions in return for little money. At any moment the whole mine could come crashing down, killing those who work there. The ever-present danger of death inculcates the villagers with a sense that they have no real control over their lives; that they are entirely at the mercy of the forces of nature. Human beings, no less than chrysanthemums, are part of nature, and as such are subject to decay and death. A heightened sense of mortality pervades the whole community, and chrysanthemums, as a symbol of death, act as a constant reminder of the fragile nature of life in the Nottinghamshire coal-fields. The odor of chrysanthemums is also the odor of death, and both are inescapable.