Odour of Chrysanthemums

Walter's mother Character Analysis

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 with Elizabeth's detachment to Walter as a spouse, but connected to Elizabeth's own behavior toward her young son, John.

Walter's mother Quotes in Odour of Chrysanthemums

The Odour of Chrysanthemums quotes below are all either spoken by Walter's mother or refer to Walter's mother. 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 and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Odour of Chrysanthemums published in 2008.
Part 2 Quotes

"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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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:

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.

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's mother Character Timeline in Odour of Chrysanthemums

The timeline below shows where the character Walter's mother appears in Odour of Chrysanthemums. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
...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, Elizabeth... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
...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 says that it's different for Elizabeth because... (full context)
Mother/Children Relationships Theme Icon
Wife/Husband Relationships Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
...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 starts wailing, but Elizabeth shushes her,... (full context)
Isolation of Individual Lives Theme Icon
Life vs. Death Theme Icon
...of chrysanthemums in the room." She shivers and lays down tablecloths to save her carpet. Walter's mother continues moaning and rocking in the chair, and Elizabeth informs her that she'll have to... (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, while... (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. Seeing... (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 removed she and... (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 at... (full context)