Odour of Chrysanthemums

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 accident and subsequent death focus the story's plot, and Lawrence hints that the couple's dissatisfaction lies on both sides of the marriage.

Walter Quotes in Odour of Chrysanthemums

The Odour of Chrysanthemums quotes below are all either spoken by Walter or refer to Walter. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Odour of Chrysanthemums published in 2008.
Part 1 Quotes

As the mother watched her son's sullen little struggle with the wood, she saw herself in his silence and pertinacity; she saw the father in her child's indifference to all but himself. She seemed to be occupied by her husband. He had probably gone past his home, slunk past his own door, to drink before he came in, while his dinner spoiled and wasted in waiting.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter, John
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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"I canna see."
"Good gracious!" cried the mother irritably, "you're as bad as your father if it's a bit dusk!"
Nevertheless she took a paper spill from a sheaf on the mantelpiece and proceeded to light the lamp that hung from the ceiling in the middle of the room.

Related Characters: Elizabeth (speaker), John (speaker), Walter
Related Symbols: Light and Dark
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

"…It was chrysanthemums when I married him, and chrysanthemums when you were born, and the first time they ever brought him home drunk, he'd got brown chrysanthemums in his button-hole."

Related Characters: Elizabeth (speaker), Walter
Related Symbols: Chrysanthemums
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Part 2 Quotes

If he was killed—would she be able to manage on the little pension and what she could earn?—she counted up rapidly. If he was hurt—they wouldn't take him to the hospital—how tiresome he would be to nurse!—but perhaps she'd be able to get him away from the drink and his hateful ways. She would—while he was ill. The tears offered to come to her eyes at the picture. But what sentimental luxury was this she was beginning?—She turned to consider the children. At any rate she was absolutely necessary for them. They were her business.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter
Page Number: 86-87
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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"But he wasn't your son, Lizzie, an' it makes a difference. Whatever he was, I remember him when he was little, an' I learned to understand him and to make allowances. You've got to make allowances for them—"

Related Characters: Walter's mother (speaker), Elizabeth, Walter
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mo

When they arose, saw him lying in the naïve dignity of death, the women stood arrested in fear and respect. For a few moments they remained still, looking down, the old mother whimpering. Elizabeth felt countermanded. She saw him, how utterly inviolable he lay in himself. She had nothing to do with him.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter, Walter's mother
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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They never forgot it was death, and the touch of the man's dead body gave them strange emotions, different in each of the women; a great dread possessed them both, the mother felt the lie was given to her womb, she was denied; the wife felt the utter isolation of the human soul, the child within her was a weight apart from her.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter, Walter's mother
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Elizabeth sank down again to the floor, and put her face against his neck, and trembled and shuddered. But she had to draw away again. He was dead, and her living flesh had no place against his.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

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There were the children—but the children belonged to life. This dead man had nothing to do with them. He and she were only channels through which life had flowed to issue in the children. She was a mother—but how awful she knew it now to have been a wife. And he, dead now, how awful he must have felt it to be a husband.

Related Characters: Elizabeth, Walter, John, Annie
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Walter Character Timeline in Odour of Chrysanthemums

The timeline below shows where the character Walter appears in Odour of Chrysanthemums. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
...and butter. Her father sips the tea appreciatively and mentions that he heard news of Walter spending his money at the ‘Lord Nelson,' to which the woman responds bitterly, saying that... (full context)
Part 2
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
...again for half an hour before bed. However, he hadn't said anything about Elizabeth's husband, Walter. (full context)
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
...that Elizabeth's husband isn't at "Prince of Wales." He admits that when he left work Walter stayed behind to finish up, and Elizabeth now feels certain of disaster. She reassures Rigley,... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
...of footsteps at the door. The door opens to reveal an elderly woman dressed in black—Walter's mother. (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Walter's mother is upset and keeps telling Elizabeth that she doesn't know what they'll do. Alarmed,... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Elizabeth thinks of how she might support her children if Walter is hurt or killed, while Walter's mother continues to ramble about her son. Walter's mother... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
Elizabeth asks whether it's bad, and the man responds that the doctor says that Walter's been dead for hours. Walter's mother collapses in a chair upon hearing the news and... (full context)
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
Elizabeth prepares the parlor for Walter's body, lighting a candle and taking note of the "cold, deathly smell of chrysanthemums in... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
The men begin to move Walter's body into the room, and as they do so, the coat used to cover his... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
...father, and Elizabeth replies that they have. Elizabeth says that he's sleeping downstairs. Annie, hearing Walter's mother wailing, becomes frightened and asks about the sound, but Elizabeth tells her it's nothing,... (full context)
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
When Elizabeth returns to the parlor, only Walter's mother remains with Walter's body. The two women begin to strip and wash his body.... (full context)
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
After the women finish washing Walter's body, Walter's mother begins to reminisce about Walter as a child, while Elizabeth considers how... (full context)
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
...who he was in life. She pities him as a human now that he's dead. Walter's mother and Elizabeth dress him in a new shirt, and Elizabeth feels a terrible weight... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
After the women finish dressing Walter, they cover him with a sheet, and Elizabeth fastens the parlor door so that the... (full context)