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Odour of Chrysanthemums

D. H. Lawrence

Foreshadowing

Local Dialect

Important Quotations Explained

Numerous examples of foreshadowing crowd “Odour of Chrysanthemums,” providing a sense of inevitable tragedy. Lawrence gives us clues to Walter’s fate from the beginning of the story, when Elizabeth bitterly says to the children that he “can lie on the floor” when he comes home and that he’ll be “like a log.” After Elizabeth puts the children to bed, she attempts to distract herself with her sewing, her anger at the situation becoming “tinged with fear.” Later, when she seeks the help of Mr. Rigley, he escorts her down the dark alleyway in front of his house, warning her to be careful of the deep ruts in the earth, afraid that someone could slip in the uneven surface of the ground. This idea of accidental physical harm is echoed in Walter’s death, caused by a cave-in at his mine.

Developments beyond the scope of the story are foreshadowed as well, particularly in Lawrence’s description of the children. Annie is divided in her affections, respectful of her mother’s ire yet loyal in her love for her father. How her affections will eventually tilt is suggested in Annie’s hair, which is changing from blond, the color of Walter’s hair, to brunette, the color of Elizabeth’s. This detail subtly suggests the fact that Annie will be forced to transfer her affections exclusively to Elizabeth when Walter dies. The clothes that John wears carry the weight of foreshadowing as well. When he first emerges from the raspberry patch, he is wearing pants and a waistcoat made out of a larger set of men’s clothes that had been cut down to fit him. Essentially dressed up as a man, John unwittingly predicts the potentially grim future that awaits him because he will be expected to be the “man of the house” now that Walter is gone. In these small details of the children’s physical appearance, we get hints of their bleak future.

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