Women in Love – Articulation, Hamlet and Arnie

 

He turned in confusion. There was always confusion in speech. Yet it must be spoken. Whichever way one moved, if one were to move forwards, one must break a way through. And to know, to give utterance, was to break a way through the walls of the prison as the infant in labour strives through the walls of the womb. There is no new movement now, without the breaking through of the old body, deliberately, in knowledge, in the struggle to get out.

[BUT]

…One shouldn’t talk when one is tired and wretched. One Hamletises, and it seems a lie. -p.161, Women in Love, DH Lawrence

‘Hamletises’ – ie. Talks to one’s self too much overthinking with useless
deliberation thereby neglecting action; something Arnie’s Hamlet avoids magnificently, CHECK IT OUT on YOUTUBE by clicking the pic below:



		
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Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – The Death Instinct, Love and Tennyson

For one of my final undergrad modules in English I did a course on Freud and Shakespeare, which was by far the most interesting of the special subjects talking of repressed desires and such things, during which time we touched on The Death Instinct or Death Wish.  To summarise, Dreams are a vehicle of wish fulfillment, but why then, as Freud observed, were patients reliving traumatic events through their dreams, especially those returning from the war with no physical injuries.  This prompted a revision of Dream Theory.  What followed determined that the repetition of events painful to the psyche were in fact an attempt at nullifying the trauma through a kind of desensitising, ie. the more you hear a funny joke the less funny it gets or the more you watch a horror film the less scary it becomes, therefore the more you relive a traumatic experience the less truamatic it becomes.  There are also elements of control attached to such an exercise so that subjects are perhaps seeking to impose control over the traumatic event.  Now, the death instint is actually manifested in this desire for negating stimulus, in effect to be completely desensitised, returning to a state of non-being.  Controversial.
The poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson is fantastically fruitful when it comes to applying these theories.  But first, Lawrence’s Women in Love, just after a young character is swept away by a flowing stream and lost forever:

'Do you think they are dead?' she cried in a high voice, to make
herself heard.

'Yes,' he replied.

'Isn't it horrible!'

He paid no heed. They walked up the hill, further and further away from
the noise.

'Do you mind very much?' she asked him.

'I don't mind about the dead,' he said, 'once they are dead. The worst
of it is, they cling on to the living, and won't let go.'

She pondered for a time.

'Yes,' she said. 'The FACT of death doesn't really seem to matter much,
does it?'

'No,' he said. 'What does it matter if Diana Crich is alive or dead?'

'Doesn't it?' she said, shocked.

'No, why should it? Better she were dead--she'll be much more real.
She'll be positive in death. In life she was a fretting, negated
thing.'

'You are rather horrible,' murmured Ursula.

'No! I'd rather Diana Crich were dead. Her living somehow, was all
wrong. As for the young man, poor devil--he'll find his way out quickly
instead of slowly. Death is all right--nothing better.'

'Yet you don't want to die,' she challenged him.

He was silent for a time. Then he said, in a voice that was frightening
to her in its change:

'I should like to be through with it--I should like to be through with
the death process.'

'And aren't you?' asked Ursula nervously.

They walked on for some way in silence, under the trees. Then he said,
slowly, as if afraid:

'There is life which belongs to death, and there is life which isn't
death. One is tired of the life that belongs to death--our kind of
life. But whether it is finished, God knows. I want love that is like
sleep, like being born again, vulnerable as a baby that just comes into
the world.'

Ursula listened, half attentive, half avoiding what he said. She seemed
to catch the drift of his statement, and then she drew away. She wanted
to hear, but she did not want to be implicated. She was reluctant to
yield there, where he wanted her, to yield as it were her very
identity.

'Why should love be like sleep?' she asked sadly.

'I don't know. So that it is like death--I DO want to die from this
life--and yet it is more than life itself. One is delivered over like a
naked infant from the womb, all the old defences and the old body gone,
and new air around one, that has never been breathed before.' -p.160
For further illumination read Tennyson’s ‘The Kraken’:
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.  
Read also, ‘Tears idle tears, I know not what they mean’:

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather in the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

   Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

   Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

   Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

An excellent poem full of that confusion in longing for something greater which seems to lie before existence perhaps.

Now back to Lawrence’s Women in Love:


Ursula, now pining for the man she is in love with, Rupert Birkin the man who wants something more than love, like Birkin expresses a peculiar longing for the peace and tranquility afforded by death, employing a wonderful metaphor that seems to echo Tennyson’s marvellous poem ‘The Lotus-Eaters’:

The knowledge of the imminence of
death was like a drug…
She knew all she had to know,
she had experienced all she had to experience, she was fulfilled in a
kind of bitter ripeness, there remained only to fall from the tree into
death…
After all, when one was fulfilled, one was happiest in falling into
death, as a bitter fruit plunges in its ripeness downwards. Death is a
great consummation, a consummating experience. – pp.164-5, DHLawrence, Women in Love


Compare to Tennyson’s ‘The Lotus-Eaters’ published almost 90 years before WIL:

The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.
All its allotted length of days,
The flower ripens in its place,
Ripens and fades, and falls, and hath no toil,

…All things have rest, and ripen toward the grave
In silence; ripen, fall and cease:
Give us long rest or death, dark death, or dreamful ease.

Women in Love – Prufrock’s White Flannel Trousers

A passage that evokes some Eliot, another interesting connection with Prufrock:

He laughed. Gudrun looked aside, feeling she was being belittled. People were standing about in groups, some women were sitting in the shade of the walnut tree, with cups of tea in their hands, a waiter in evening dress was hurrying round, some girls were simpering with parasols, some young men, who had just come in from rowing, were sitting cross-legged on the grass, coatless, their shirt-sleeves rolled up in manly fashion, their hands resting on their white flannel trousers, their gaudy ties floating about, as they laughed and tried to be witty with the young damsels. ‘Why,’ thought Gudrun churlishly, ‘don’t they have the manners to put their coats on, and not to assume such intimacy in their appearance.’ She abhorred the ordinary young man, with his hair plastered back, and his easy-going chumminess. -pp.135-6  

These are exactly the sort of men Prufrock aspires to:

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think they will sing to me.

Read the full poem, Eliot’s ‘Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ – http://www.coldbacon.com/poems/eliot.html  

 
Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Something Beyond Love

Of the many plights in this novel, finding an escape from human constructs seems to be at the very heart. While listening to Radio 4, purely because music on the radio is so damn awful these days, I heard a discourse with JG BallJ.G.Ballardard in which he talked of the hollowness of human existence and how apparent it became to him that social conventions and everything we live by is artificial because at a moment’s notice it can be brushed aside, for example during times of war. We are therefore compelled to really question what life has to offer us, he says, some turn to drugs others turn to something else which I forget, but ultimately these are false and temporary remedies which fail to really get to the heart of life. I now leave you with Rupert Birkin digging himself a nice hole to curl up inside by himself as he quite romantically seeks something beyond love – but it can’t really be romantic now can it:

--if we are going to know each
other, we must pledge ourselves for ever. If we are going to make a
relationship, even of friendship, there must be something final and
infallible about it.'

There was a clang of mistrust and almost anger in his voice. She did
not answer. Her heart was too much contracted. She could not have
spoken.

Seeing she was not going to reply, he continued, almost bitterly,
giving himself away:

'I can't say it is love I have to offer--and it isn't love I want. It
is something much more impersonal and harder--and rarer.'

There was a silence, out of which she said:

'You mean you don't love me?'

She suffered furiously, saying that.

'Yes, if you like to put it like that. Though perhaps that isn't true.
I don't know. At any rate, I don't feel the emotion of love for
you--no, and I don't want to. Because it gives out in the last issues.'

'Love gives out in the last issues?' she asked, feeling numb to the
lips.

'Yes, it does. At the very last, one is alone, beyond the influence of
love. There is a real impersonal me, that is beyond love, beyond any
emotional relationship. So it is with you. But we want to delude
ourselves that love is the root. It isn't. It is only the branches. The
root is beyond love, a naked kind of isolation, an isolated me, that
does NOT meet and mingle, and never can.'

She watched him with wide, troubled eyes. His face was incandescent in
its abstract earnestness.

'And you mean you can't love?' she asked, in trepidation.

'Yes, if you like. I have loved. But there is a beyond, where there is
not love.'

She could not submit to this. She felt it swooning over her. But she
could not submit.

'But how do you know--if you have never REALLY loved?' she asked.

'It is true, what I say; there is a beyond, in you, in me, which is
further than love, beyond the scope, as stars are beyond the scope of
vision, some of them.'

'Then there is no love,' cried Ursula.

'Ultimately, no, there is something else. But, ultimately, there IS no
love.'

Ursula was given over to this statement for some moments. Then she half
rose from her chair, saying, in a final, repellent voice:

'Then let me go home--what am I doing here?'

'There is the door,' he said. 'You are a free agent.'

He was suspended finely and perfectly in this extremity. She hung
motionless for some seconds, then she sat down again.

'If there is no love, what is there?' she cried, almost jeering.

'Something,' he said, looking at her, battling with his soul, with all
his might.

'What?'

He was silent for a long time, unable to be in communication with her
while she was in this state of opposition.

'There is,' he said, in a voice of pure abstraction; 'a final me which
is stark and impersonal and beyond responsibility. So there is a final
you. And it is there I would want to meet you--not in the emotional,
loving plane--but there beyond, where there is no speech and no terms
of agreement. There we are two stark, unknown beings, two utterly
strange creatures, I would want to approach you, and you me. And there
could be no obligation, because there is no standard for action there,
because no understanding has been reaped from that plane. It is quite
inhuman,--so there can be no calling to book, in any form
whatsoever--because one is outside the pale of all that is accepted,
and nothing known applies. One can only follow the impulse, taking that
which lies in front, and responsible for nothing, asked for nothing,
giving nothing, only each taking according to the primal desire.'

Ursula listened to this speech, her mind dumb and almost senseless,
what he said was so unexpected and so untoward.

'It is just purely selfish,' she said.

'If it is pure, yes. But it isn't selfish at all. Because I don't KNOW
what I want of you. I deliver MYSELF over to the unknown, in coming to
you, I am without reserves or defences, stripped entirely, into the
unknown. Only there needs the pledge between us, that we will both cast
off everything, cast off ourselves even, and cease to be, so that that
which is perfectly ourselves can take place in us.'

She pondered along her own line of thought.

'But it is because you love me, that you want me?' she persisted.

'No it isn't. It is because I believe in you--if I DO believe in you.'

'Aren't you sure?' she laughed, suddenly hurt.

He was looking at her steadfastly, scarcely heeding what she said.

'Yes, I must believe in you, or else I shouldn't be here saying this,'
he replied. 'But that is all the proof I have. I don't feel any very
strong belief at this particular moment.'

She disliked him for this sudden relapse into weariness and
faithlessness.

'But don't you think me good-looking?' she persisted, in a mocking
voice.

He looked at her, to see if he felt that she was good-looking.

'I don't FEEL that you're good-looking,' he said.

'Not even attractive?' she mocked, bitingly.

He knitted his brows in sudden exasperation.

'Don't you see that it's not a question of visual appreciation in the
least,' he cried. 'I don't WANT to see you. I've seen plenty of women,
I'm sick and weary of seeing them. I want a woman I don't see.'

'I'm sorry I can't oblige you by being invisible,' she laughed.

'Yes,' he said, 'you are invisible to me, if you don't force me to be
visually aware of you. But I don't want to see you or hear you.'

'What did you ask me to tea for, then?' she mocked.

But he would take no notice of her. He was talking to himself.

'I want to find you, where you don't know your own existence, the you
that your common self denies utterly. But I don't want your good looks,
and I don't want your womanly feelings, and I don't want your thoughts
nor opinions nor your ideas--they are all bagatelles to me.'

'You are very conceited, Monsieur,' she mocked. 'How do you know what
my womanly feelings are, or my thoughts or my ideas? You don't even
know what I think of you now.'

'Nor do I care in the slightest.'

'I think you are very silly. I think you want to tell me you love me,
and you go all this way round to do it.'

'All right,' he said, looking up with sudden exasperation. 'Now go away
then, and leave me alone. I don't want any more of your meretricious
persiflage.'

'Is it really persiflage?' she mocked, her face really relaxing into
laughter. She interpreted it, that he had made a deep confession of
love to her. But he was so absurd in his words, also.

They were silent for many minutes, she was pleased and elated like a
child. His concentration broke, he began to look at her simply and
naturally.

'What I want is a strange conjunction with you--' he said quietly; 'not
meeting and mingling--you are quite right--but an equilibrium, a pure
balance of two single beings--as the stars balance each other.'

She looked at him. He was very earnest, and earnestness was always
rather ridiculous, commonplace, to her. It made her feel unfree and
uncomfortable. Yet she liked him so much. But why drag in the stars.

'Isn't this rather sudden?' she mocked.

He began to laugh.

'Best to read the terms of the contract, before we sign,' he said.

A young grey cat that had been sleeping on the sofa jumped down and
stretched, rising on its long legs, and arching its slim back. Then it
sat considering for a moment, erect and kingly. And then, like a dart,
it had shot out of the room, through the open window-doors, and into
the garden. -pp.123-24
I have certainly shared Birkin’s plight in escaping cliche, since the damn thing lingers behind every thought threatening its sincerity. Know what I mean?
Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Between the Desire and the Spasm falls The Shadow

On many occasions, usually prolonged and sustained till resolution, I have felt paralysed by the anxiety of an obligation to be doing something with my life, to be producing something, industrious, full of purpose and focus.  And it is because of this overwhelming anxiety that I have in some cases failed to act and do as deliberately as I perhaps could and should have done, in fact restricting myself by looking for well worn paths to productivity.  As with many of these cuttings, the following conversation fills me with a nice sense of comfort both in its discussion of my feeling and in a fundamental sense of empowering me with a further ability to articulate these feelings afforded by the diverse use of language – something which I hope all these cuttings in some way facilitate.
‘I DO enjoy things—don’t you?’ she asked.
‘Oh yes! But it infuriates me that I can’t get right, at the really growing part of me. I feel all tangled and messed up, and I CAN’T get straight anyhow. I don’t know what really to DO. One must do something somewhere.’
‘Why should you always be DOING?’ she retorted. ‘It is so plebeian. I think it is much better to be really patrician, and to do nothing but just be oneself, like a walking flower.’
‘I quite agree,’ he said, ‘if one has burst into blossom. But I can’t get my flower to blossom anyhow. Either it is blighted in the bud, or has got the smother-fly, or it isn’t nourished. Curse it, it isn’t even a bud. It is a contravened knot.’ -pp.106-107
I especially like the final metaphor.  I wonder also if Lawrence is not only talking about the general human condition but also differentiating between the genders.  Regardless, a fantastic poem to read for more thought provoking sentiments on action and inaction is T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’ which has haunted me for many many years.  Here’s a snippet followed by a link to the full poem:
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow

http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/784/
Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Rotten to the Core

‘The whole idea is dead. Humanity itself is dry-rotten, really. There are myriads of human beings hanging on the bush—and they look very nice and rosy, your healthy young men and women. But they are apples of Sodom, as a matter of fact, Dead Sea Fruit, gall-apples. It isn’t true that they have any significance—their insides are full of bitter, corrupt ash.’
‘But there ARE good people,’ protested Ursula.
‘Good enough for the life of today. But mankind is a dead tree, covered with fine brilliant galls of people.’
‘Why, why are people all balls of bitter dust? Because they won’t fall off the tree when they’re ripe. They hang on to their old positions when the position is over-past, till they become infested with little worms and dry-rot.’ -p.107

Sodom |ˈsädəm|
a town in ancient Palestine, probably south of the Dead Sea. According to Gen. 19:24 it was destroyed by fire from heaven, together with Gomorrah, for the wickedness of its inhabitants.
• [as n. ] ( a Sodom) a wicked or depraved place.

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – The World without Men, Hitler’s Great Idea and a Rain to Wash away the Scum

 

  ‘So you’d like everybody in the world destroyed?’ said Ursula.
      ‘I should indeed.'[said Birkin]
      ‘And the world empty of people?’
      ‘Yes truly. You yourself, don’t you find it a beautiful clean thought, a world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass, and a hare sitting up?’
      The pleasant sincerity of his voice made Ursula pause to consider her own proposition. And really it WAS attractive: a clean, lovely, humanless world. It was the REALLY desirable. Her heart hesitated, and exulted. But still, she was dissatisfied with HIM.
      ‘But,’ she objected, ‘you’d be dead yourself, so what good would it do you?’
      ‘I would die like a shot, to know that the earth would really be cleaned of all the people. It is the most beautiful and freeing thought. Then there would NEVER be another foul humanity created, for a universal defilement.’
      ‘No,’ said Ursula, ‘there would be nothing.’
      ‘What! Nothing? Just because humanity was wiped out? You flatter yourself. There’d be everything.’
      ‘But how, if there were no people?’
      ‘Do you think that creation depends on MAN! It merely doesn’t. There are the trees and the grass and birds. I much prefer to think of the lark rising up in the morning upon a human-less world. Man is a mistake, he must go. There is the grass, and hares and adders, and the unseen hosts, actual angels that go about freely when a dirty humanity doesn’t interrupt them—and good pure-tissued demons: very nice.’
      It pleased Ursula, what he said, pleased her very much, as a phantasy. Of course it was only a pleasant fancy. She herself knew too well the actuality of humanity, its hideous actuality. She knew it could not disappear so cleanly and conveniently. It had a long way to go yet, a long and hideous way. Her subtle, feminine, demoniacal soul knew it well.
      ‘If only man was swept off the face of the earth, creation would go on so marvellously, with a new start, non-human. Man is one of the mistakes of creation—like the ichthyosauri. If only he were gone again, think what lovely things would come out of the liberated days;—things straight out of the fire.’
‘But man will never be gone,’ she said, with insidious, diabolical knowledge of the horrors of persistence. ‘The world will go with him.’

      ‘Ah no,’ he answered, ‘not so. I believe in the proud angels and the demons that are our fore-runners. They will destroy us, because we are not proud enough. The ichthyosauri were not proud: they crawled and floundered as we do. And besides, look at elder-flowers and bluebells—they are a sign that pure creation takes place—even the butterfly. But humanity never gets beyond the caterpillar stage—it rots in the chrysalis, it never will have wings. It is anti-creation, like monkeys and baboons.’ -pp.108-109

This section with Rupert expressing his frustration at being trapped within the confines of the human condition, no doubt exacerbated by his earlier dreamy naturist experience in the fields, immediately strikes a chord because, I think, it is so poignantly true.  It also makes me think of similar expressions of disgust with humanity, although very different in presentation, the sentiment is perhaps extremely similar:

TRAVIS (V.O.)
(monotone)April 10, 1972. Thank God for the rain which has helped wash
the garbage and trash off the sidewalks.

TRAVIS' POV of sleazy midtown side street: Bums, hookers, junkies.

I think someone should just take this city and just… just flush it down the fuckin’ toilet. 

- Travis Bickle, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), Screenplay Paul 
Schrader 
Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever. 
- Bill Hicks famously erupted with this incisive comment during a gig 
in 1989 in Chicago
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDrgwZsGC9A (Watch it here)
Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Man and Nature

After Rupert Birkin’s outburst denying Hermione her sentimental argument for peace, love, equality and all that, there follows a very funny moment where, as Berkin doses with his head in a book, Hermione, possessed, grabs a solid jewel paperweight ball and smacks him on the head with it.  She then collapses on the couch and herself drifts off for a moment.  The following passage then picks up as Birkin somehow unsurprised by the incident backs away from her and sublimely falls in love with nature reinforcing a disdain for humanity, magnificent stuff:

Birkin, barely conscious, and yet perfectly direct in his motion, went out of the house and straight across the park, to the open country, to
the hills. The brilliant day had become overcast, spots of rain were
falling. He wandered on to a wild valley-side, where were thickets of
hazel, many flowers, tufts of heather, and little clumps of young
firtrees, budding with soft paws. It was rather wet everywhere, there
was a stream running down at the bottom of the valley, which was
gloomy, or seemed gloomy. He was aware that he could not regain his
consciousness, that he was moving in a sort of darkness.

Yet he wanted something. He was happy in the wet hillside, that was
overgrown and obscure with bushes and flowers. He wanted to touch them
all, to saturate himself with the touch of them all. He took off his
clothes, and sat down naked among the primroses, moving his feet softly
among the primroses, his legs, his knees, his arms right up to the
arm-pits, lying down and letting them touch his belly, his breasts. It
was such a fine, cool, subtle touch all over him, he seemed to saturate
himself with their contact.

But they were too soft. He went through the long grass to a clump of
young fir-trees, that were no higher than a man. The soft sharp boughs
beat upon him, as he moved in keen pangs against them, threw little
cold showers of drops on his belly, and beat his loins with their
clusters of soft-sharp needles. There was a thistle which pricked him
vividly, but not too much, because all his movements were too
discriminate and soft. To lie down and roll in the sticky, cool young
hyacinths, to lie on one’s belly and cover one’s back with handfuls of
fine wet grass, soft as a breath, soft and more delicate and more
beautiful than the touch of any woman; and then to sting one’s thigh
against the living dark bristles of the fir-boughs; and then to feel
the light whip of the hazel on one’s shoulders, stinging, and then to
clasp the silvery birch-trunk against one’s breast, its smoothness, its
hardness, its vital knots and ridges–this was good, this was all very
good, very satisfying. Nothing else would do, nothing else would
satisfy, except this coolness and subtlety of vegetation travelling
into one’s blood. How fortunate he was, that there was this lovely,
subtle, responsive vegetation, waiting for him, as he waited for it;
how fulfilled he was, how happy!

As he dried himself a little with his handkerchief, he thought about
Hermione and the blow. He could feel a pain on the side of his head.
But after all, what did it matter? What did Hermione matter, what did
people matter altogether? There was this perfect cool loneliness, so
lovely and fresh and unexplored. Really, what a mistake he had made,
thinking he wanted people, thinking he wanted a woman. He did not want
a woman–not in the least. The leaves and the primroses and the trees,
they were really lovely and cool and desirable, they really came into
the blood and were added on to him. He was enrichened now immeasurably,
and so glad.

It was quite right of Hermione to want to kill him. What had he to do
with her? Why should he pretend to have anything to do with human
beings at all? Here was his world, he wanted nobody and nothing but the
lovely, subtle, responsive vegetation, and himself, his own living
self.

It was necessary to go back into the world. That was true. But that did
not matter, so one knew where one belonged. He knew now where he
belonged. This was his place, his marriage place. The world was
extraneous.

He climbed out of the valley, wondering if he were mad. But if so, he
preferred his own madness, to the regular sanity. He rejoiced in his
own madness, he was free. He did not want that old sanity of the world,
which was become so repulsive. He rejoiced in the new-found world of
his madness. It was so fresh and delicate and so satisfying.

As for the certain grief he felt at the same time, in his soul, that
was only the remains of an old ethic, that bade a human being adhere to
humanity. But he was weary of the old ethic, of the human being, and of
humanity. He loved now the soft, delicate vegetation, that was so cool
and perfect. He would overlook the old grief, he would put away the old
ethic, he would be free in his new state.

He was aware of the pain in his head becoming more and more difficult
every minute. He was walking now along the road to the nearest station.
It was raining and he had no hat. But then plenty of cranks went out
nowadays without hats, in the rain.

He wondered again how much of his heaviness of heart, a certain
depression, was due to fear, fear lest anybody should have seen him
naked lying against the vegetation. What a dread he had of mankind, of
other people! It amounted almost to horror, to a sort of dream
terror–his horror of being observed by some other people. If he were
on an island, like Alexander Selkirk, with only the creatures and the
trees, he would be free and glad, there would be none of this
heaviness, this misgiving. He could love the vegetation and be quite
happy and unquestioned, by himself. -pp.90-92

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – The Delusion of Equality

'IF,' said Hermione at last, 'we could only realise, that in the SPIRIT
we are all one, all equal in the spirit, all brothers there--the rest
wouldn't matter, there would be no more of this carping and envy and
this struggle for power, which destroys, only destroys.'

This speech was received in silence, and almost immediately the party
rose from the table. But when the others had gone, Birkin turned round
in bitter declamation, saying:

'It is just the opposite, just the contrary, Hermione. We are all
different and unequal in spirit--it is only the SOCIAL differences that
are based on accidental material conditions. We are all abstractly or
mathematically equal, if you like. Every man has hunger and thirst, two
eyes, one nose and two legs. We're all the same in point of number. But
spiritually, there is pure difference and neither equality nor
inequality counts. It is upon these two bits of knowledge that you must
found a state. Your democracy is an absolute lie--your brotherhood of
man is a pure falsity, if you apply it further than the mathematical
abstraction. We all drank milk first, we all eat bread and meat, we all
want to ride in motor-cars--therein lies the beginning and the end of
the brotherhood of man. But no equality.

'But I, myself, who am myself, what have I to do with equality with any
other man or woman? In the spirit, I am as separate as one star is from
another, as different in quality and quantity. Establish a state on
THAT. One man isn't any better than another, not because they are
equal, but because they are intrinsically OTHER, that there is no term
of comparison. The minute you begin to compare, one man is seen to be
far better than another, all the inequality you can imagine is there by
nature. I want every man to have his share in the world's goods, so
that I am rid of his importunity, so that I can tell him: "Now you've
got what you want--you've got your fair share of the world's gear. Now,
you one-mouthed fool, mind yourself and don't obstruct me."'
...
'It SOUNDS like megalomania, Rupert,' said Gerald, genially. -p.87-88
Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Women in Love – Inner Conflicts; Purity versus Obscenity

'Julius is somewhat insane. On the one hand he's
had religious mania, and on the other, he is fascinated by obscenity.
Either he is a pure servant, washing the feet of Christ, or else he is
making obscene drawings of Jesus--action and reaction--and between the
two, nothing. He is really insane. He wants a pure lily, another girl,
with a baby face, on the one hand, and on the other, he MUST have the
Pussum, just to defile himself with her.'

'That's what I can't make out,' said Gerald. 'Does he love her, the
Pussum, or doesn't he?'

'He neither does nor doesn't. She is the harlot, the actual harlot of
adultery to him. And he's got a craving to throw himself into the filth
of her. Then he gets up and calls on the name of the lily of purity,
the baby-faced girl, and so enjoys himself all round. It's the old
story--action and reaction, and nothing between.'- p.80
Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 10:56 am  Leave a Comment