34 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

Odour of Chrysanthemums

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1911

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Literary Devices

Third-Person Narration

The third-person narration enhances the feeling of social alienation in the story. In picking a detached narration style, Lawrence creates a separation between the reader and the protagonist, which would not be the case in a first-person narration. The narration begins as an omniscient description of the colliery before focusing on Elizabeth, at which point the narrative voice still has insight into her internal dialogue. This is particularly important in the closing few pages of the story, which center on her feelings of alienation and fear. However, there is an instance when the insight of the third-person narration wavers—“she seemed to be occupied by her husband” (4). Here, even the narrative voice cannot tell what Elizabeth is thinking and only guesses at it, giving a sense of the distance that she feels from every person in her life. Other people seem unknowable to her, just as she becomes unknowable to the reader at this moment.

Character Names

The way the third person narration refers to the characters is important in “Odour of Chrysanthemums.” Characters are often referred to not by name but by descriptors of their societal or relational roles, showing how these have shaped their lives.