A different version, which transformed and expanded the concluding section in which Elizabeth Bates reflects on her married life in the presence of the body of her husband, was published in in The Prussian Officer and Other Stories. The author seems to say: Take it or leave it. The man who sent you this has, then, character, the courage of his convictions, a power of observation. All these presumptions flit through your mind. The fourth child of Arthur John Lawrence, an illiterate coal miner, and Lydia Beardsall Lawrence, a former school teacher, David Herbert Lawrence was born in and raised in the mining village of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. Lawrence attended local grammar and secondary schools and later, from to , studied at Nottingham University College, where he began writing short stories.
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Although Elizabeth Bates initially thinks her husband is just late for dinner because he's out partying at the pub, she eventually discovers spoiler alert that he had an accident at the mine and has died.
This is obviously pretty devastating news, especially given the fact that she has two small kids and another on the way. It's also a confusing and conflicted moment for her, as she suddenly feels like she barely knew her husband.
In being forced to confront death, with all of its finality and feelings of separation, Elizabeth seems to feel completely alienated from the life she had been living; all her feelings seem to go all topsy turvy, and she ends the story pretty uncertain about her future and what it holds. So, yeah, there's plenty of gloom and doom here. However, to look at the kind of? That sounds like a good or at least healthy thing, right? Hey, we're just trying to look on the bright side here.
Not to be a downer or anything, but chances are that someday you will be in a situation kind of like Elizabeth's. Life doesn't always advertise when big, earth-shattering things are about to happen—in fact, more often than not, they'll sneak up on you when you think you're right in the middle of a normal day.
You're having a cup of coffee, getting a haircut, doing your chem homework, going to get your oil changed That's the story at the heart of "The Odour of Chrysanthemums. Actually, the fact that it's typical is making her crazy , because "typical" means that her husband is out boozing at the pub instead of coming home for dinner.
However, the longer her husband stays out, the more she hopes his absence is just part of the same old routine. Unfortunately, it's not. It's certainly not cheery, but "The Odour of Chrysanthemums" taps into how the everyday can turn into the exceptional in an instant.
It's almost like the story is reminding us to pay attention even to the small moments, because they could soon be big ones Scholars at the University of Nottingham have made three different versions of the story available on the university's website.
Want the Highlights? Okay, if you don't feel like reading all three versions, you can skip to the University of Nottingham's discussion of specific differences between the three texts. Criticism of Lawrence's "Odour" Check out the University of Nottingham site for some commentary on the story and other materials.
Listen to the Public Domain Audiobook! Part 1. Listen to More of the Public Domain Audiobook! Part 2. Mining Life The University of Nottingham put up some images of miners and mining life to give us some context for Lawrence's story. Does the "H" in D. Lawrence Stand for Hipster? Lawrence rocked a beard long before they were doing it in Brooklyn. Study Guide.
Odour of Chrysanthemums Introduction Consider yourself warned: D. Articles and Interviews Criticism of Lawrence's "Odour" Check out the University of Nottingham site for some commentary on the story and other materials. Audio Listen to the Public Domain Audiobook! Part 2 Images Mining Life The University of Nottingham put up some images of miners and mining life to give us some context for Lawrence's story.
I first read this story in my third year at university, in my drafty, damp, student house. Missing the comforts of home I had filled the little house with bunches of cheap, brightly coloured chrysanthemums, stuffed into old wine bottles and empty jam jars. To me these wispy little flowers will always smell like a confusing mixture of freedom and fear, excitement and loneliness. I was out in the world doing just what I had always dreamed of doing, and yet I was alone. For Elizabeth Bates the odour of chrysanthemums invokes a similar emotion.
Odour of Chrysanthemums
Odour of Chrysanthemums Summary
A train passes by a mining town, where a woman calls to her young son, John , as the light fades to dusk. He joins her sullenly, pulling at the chrysanthemum bushes as they walk towards the house. The mother tells her son to stop, before plucking a branch of flowers to smell and tucking them into her waistband. The mother and son wait at the foot of the steps, watching miners heading home after a day of work. The train comes to a stop before their gate, and the engine driver, the woman's father , calls out to ask whether she has a cup of tea.