Short review of Lady Chatterleys Lover

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a brief synopsis of DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterleys Lover.

Submitted: November 05, 2007

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Submitted: November 05, 2007

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So I am reading Lady Chatterleys Lover by DH Lawrence. I am about half way through, and here are a few thoughts:
Lawrence is talking about, fundamentally, the alienation of both upper-class women and men and their divorce from common life. Even though Connie (Lady Chatterley) has come from a Bohemian-ish family, has been to college and is educated (in other words she has probably done more than a lot of women from both classes), she really thinks and behaves as part of the Bourgeois  - its expected from her position. She marries Clifford - a landowner - a man who actually despises the lower orders more so than Connie basically because of his societal position and from his culture, rather than any other reason. So even though the story is essentially about Lady Chatterley and her alienation from Clifford, the story can still be analysed through his own alienation from his class upbringing AND from his disability, which in turn is the cause of Connies discontent.

Clifford went to fight as an officer during World War One, married Connie whilst on leave, and then came back disabled from the waist down. Connie stuck with him, initially looking after him. Clifford turned towards writing to vent his frustrations of being an invalid; and I think its a kind of double frustration - one of his disability and the other of being a bourgeois and constrained by the very culture of being rich and looking down on the lower orders. We begin to then understand Connies withdrawal - her brief sexual relationship with Michaelis born from her sexual chastity caused by the lack of sex with Clifford and her alienation from the working classes where she lives because of her class position, but I dont think from any intent on her behalf. But she sticks with Clifford, probably because she thinks it is expected of her plus also the shame it might bring her if she left. This is 1920's Britain after all.

She becomes very withdrawn later on, and her sister comes to visit and sorts things out to an extent; Clifford gets a working class housekeeper, who he starts beginning to relate to and questioning about the life in the mining community which in turn starts him taking an interest in the mines he owns on his land and forgoes his writing career to try and become a businessman. In other words, he begins indirectly to try and relate to the workers he employs. The same kind of thing happens with Connie; her long walks into the forest, which in itself have also been ravaged from the war (parts were cut down for the trenches), she encounters Mellors the gamekeeper. Mellors is a local working class guy, employed as a blacksmith in the mines, then served in the army during the war and rose in rank, then back to working for Clifford as a gamekeeper. A bit of a loner due to his previous marriage breaking up, it takes a while for both Connie and him to actually start having sex; she is attracted to his lithe body but unattracted to his course manner and speech. The temptation is there though, for both of them, and so they end up fucking. The first two times Connie doenst come, but the third time they have a spontaneous orgasm and so their affair starts.

This is about as far as I have read. Lawrence is writing a social commentary rather than a porn book here, which is something most people think about when they hear about Lady Chatterleys Lover. Essentially, what I think , is that he is painting a picture of the division of classes during the 1920s, post-WW1 and the fundamental effect the war has had on everyone, including the countryside. It was a war that touched everything, from the forests being cut down, to the miners families loosing their blood as well as the middle and upper classes. Everyone in the book, or at least as far as I have read, has been affected in some way or other by the cataclysm. Bolshevism is frequently talked about through Clifford and his literary associates; their fear of the lower orders is also translated through their isolation and snobbery, but at the same time they consider themselves upper class bolshevists. Clifford also calls Connie one when she becomes more and more distant from him due to her discontent and relationship with Mellors.

I need to finish the book now.


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