Values and Attitudes of the Characters in David Herbert Lawrence’s “Odour of Chrysanthemums” and “The Rocking-Horse Winner”
In the short stories “Odour of Chrysanthemums” and “The Rocking-Horse Winner”, D.H. Lawrence uses significant objects such as the rocking-horse and the chrysanthemums, in order to illustrate the main values and priorities of the characters. In “Odour of Chrysanthemums”, the flowers symbolize gloom and demise, as Elizabeth cannot bear to smell or even look at them without having unhappy associations. The rocking-horse is used by Paul as a way to prove his mother wrong and show her that he truly is lucky after all. Lawrence gives these objects a negative connotation as, in the end, the objects symbolize the true values of the characters.
In both stories, the mothers’ inability to love ends up having a destructive effect on Walter and Paul, as Lawrence uses several important objects to help portray their values. The “shiny modern rocking horse” (646), at first glance, could be perceived as an object of wealth when in reality, it is just a simple illusion, a metaphor to Hester’s life.. In a way, Hester is similar to the rocking-horse as her inability to love ends up making her the controlling mother that she is. In “Odour of Chrysanthemums” Elizabeth tries to keep up a flawless appearance. Her constant struggle to keep everything tidy and clean, such as the “cups [that] glinted in the shadows” ends up being the reason she cannot love her husband. David Herbert Lawrence uses objects that give the reader a sense of hope but instead implements disillusionment into the characters.
In “Odour of Chrysanthemums”, Elizabeth first cringes at the sight of chrysanthemums. Though she associates the flowers with “the first time they ever brought him home drunk” (790), the chrysanthemums were there at happy moments in her life, too. Elizabeth tells her daughter about how chrysanthemums have invaded her life, such as when Annie was born, or when she...
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