Odour of Chrysanthemums

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Odour of Chrysanthemums Characters


Although the story is told in third person, the narration focuses itself around Elizabeth's perspective. Elizabeth is stern and practical in her behavior and appearance, with exactly parted black hair and dark eyebrows. She resents… (read full character analysis)


Walter is Elizabeth's husband. He labors as a miner and has a drinking habit that often keeps him at the pub after work. Walter never appears in the story while he's alive, but his mining… (read full character analysis)

Walter's mother

Walter's mother is hysterical when her son's death is announced. She jealously guards her affection for Walter, taking part in washing and dressing the body. Her attachment to Walter as a son is juxtaposed… (read full character analysis)


John is Walter and Elizabeth's younger child. He wears grownup clothes that have been cut down to fit a five-year-old. John's behavior throughout the story is surly and stubborn, though Elizabeth is kind to him… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Annie is Walter and Elizabeth's young daughter. Annie has large blue eyes and curly blond hair. She is drawn to the chrysanthemums in her mother's waistband.
Mrs. Rigley
Mrs. Rigley is also a miner's wife. She has twelve children and an untidy house, which Elizabeth observes with silent criticism.
Jack Rigley
Rigley, another miner, is a big man with large bones. He admits that he left Walter alone to finish up some work and helps Elizabeth look for Walter.
Elizabeth's father
Elizabeth's father, a train conductor, appears briefly at the beginning of the story. He's another practical character, remarrying quickly after the death of his wife because he does not want to be alone, though Elizabeth views this second marriage with mild disapproval.