Chrysanthemums remind Elizabeth of her relationship with Walter, appearing at several crossroads of their shared lives: during their marriage, the birth of their first child, the first time Walter was brought home drunk, and finally, at Walter's death. Chrysanthemums also appear differently to Annie and to Elizabeth, who are in different stages of life. Annie, still a child in her prime, wonders at their beauty, while Elizabeth associates their scent with the cool odor of death. The chrysanthemums themselves also undergo change and upheaval, still alive and growing in the beginning of the story, wilting as the story progresses, and getting knocked over as the story reaches its climax with the arrival of Walter's dead body.
Chrysanthemums Quotes in Odour of Chrysanthemums
The Odour of Chrysanthemums quotes below all refer to the symbol of Chrysanthemums. 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: 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
"…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."
Chrysanthemums Symbol Timeline in Odour of Chrysanthemums
The timeline below shows where the symbol Chrysanthemums appears in Odour of Chrysanthemums. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
As Elizabeth lights the lamp, revealing her pregnant stomach, Annie catches sight of the chrysanthemums in her mother's waistband, exclaiming on their beauty. She goes to smell the flowers, commenting... (full context)
...for Walter's body, lighting a candle and taking note of the "cold, deathly smell of chrysanthemums in the room." She shivers and lays down tablecloths to save her carpet. Walter's mother... (full context)