Odour of Chrysanthemums

Meeting in the Dark: Solitude and Union in D. H. Lawrence's "Odour of Chysanthemums" and "The Horse-Dealer's Daughter"

A seemingly impenetrable solitude permeates human life in D. H. Lawrence's two short stories, "Odour of Chrysanthemums" and "The Horse Dealer's Daughter". Inside Lawrence's fictional worlds, the thematic isolation of individuals from one another (often compounded by a profound remoteness from one's own self) situates itself as a paradoxically separating yet potentially unifying force between people - but firstly, as a thoroughly cumbersome facet of the human condition. Each of Lawrence's stories conveys the essential tragedy of the human condition through the ever-present reality of inevitable death. In the lives of the central characters, a precarious divorce from any true comprehension of mortality works to further complicate their confused isolation; each individual struggles mechanically in an obscure world, steeped in the burden of his "daily self" ("Horse" 2665), or appearing as Mabel does to Jack - as a "small black figure moving in the hollow of the failing day" (2666). In "Chrysanthemums," the immense gap that lies between people on earth becomes a reality to Elizabeth Bates as the tragically overdue realization brought about by a death,...

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