Odour Of Chrysanthemums Analysis

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Odour of the Chrysanthemums and A Painful Case; Two Cases of Progressive, Venomous Asphyxiation In this comparative essay, I shall be analysing Lawrence’s Odour of Chrysanthemums and Joyce’s A Painful Case (Dubliners), identifying and highlighting similarities, but also examining the divergences. I will be scrutinizing the elegantly intertwined fibres which are the symbols and motifs of both stories, in search of intersections, moments of parallelism and detachments. The first similarity I encountered is that, in both short stories, the protagonists seem condemned to a perpetual state of confinement. In Odour of Chrysanthemums, Elizabeth Bates is imprisoned as a woman in society; she is reliant on her husband, as she has no social or financial independence. She is extremely vulnerable, and the parochial society requires she be subservient and docile. Despite the era’s dictate and her paucity of autonomy, Elizabeth is an intransigent, resolute, rational and astute woman. Walter was little more to her than a stranger, as we see in “She felt that in the next world he would be a stranger to her. If they met, in the beyond, they would be ashamed of what had been before”. Walter is merely a source of sustenance, and Elizabeth never demonstrated amorous intentions or utter compliance to him. Ultimately, however, she becomes submissive to death, her new master. Elizabeth is delivered as a captive from society and Man to death. This condition of incarceration also relates to the recurring illustration and notion of suffocation; not only was Walter asphyxiated, but Elizabeth, too, seems to suffocate and drown progressively, immersed in such a suppressing environment. In A Painful Case, Mr Duffy is encompassed in the prosaic lemniscate of... ... middle of paper ... ...etzsche, which evidently relates to James Duffy, who, just as Zarathustra, is very independent, autonomous, and, isolated. The content of the literary compositions and books Mr Duffy possesses subtly foreshadow his destiny. Moreover, the utter simplicity of Mr Duffy’s ‘old sombre house’ alludes to the boredom of his life, and his inability to halt his routine, he is bound to it. Conclusively, both Elizabeth and Mr Duffy are constrained and enslaved to confinement and progressive suffocation, in Odour of Chrysanthemums, the cause of the confinement for Elizabeth is, at first society, and her role at her husband’s side, though it eventually evolves to death, the ultimate, detrimental ‘master’, in A Painful Case the cause is Mr Duffy’s colourless, discouraging life. In both cases, the confinement languidly consumes the protagonists, as they unknowingly suffocate.

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