34 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

Odour of Chrysanthemums

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1911

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Character Analysis

Elizabeth Bates

Elizabeth Bates is a dynamic protagonist whose realizations and intense feelings form the story’s dramatic conclusion. These realizations largely revolve around the theme of Social Alienation, specifically the distance between her and her husband, and are heavily influenced by the other major themes of The Inevitability of Death and Decay, and The Reality of Labor.

Elizabeth is presented as bitter yet also emotionally flat: “[H]er face was calm and set, her mouth was closed with disillusionment” (2). She is distant from the other characters in the story, and her anger and frustration prevent her from connecting even with those she cares for. For example, though she brings her father tea, her disapproval of his decision to remarry has caused a rift between them, and she is unsurprised that he hasn’t visited her recently. Although she cares for her children and wishes to protect them from the distress of Walter’s death, her preoccupation with Walter’s absence makes her irritable when spending time with them. She often physically turns her face or body away from the people in her life: from her father (4), from her daughter (8), and from the body of her husband (21).