A Critical Response to Lady Chatterley's Lover

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A Critical Response to Lady Chatterley's Lover Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence examines the human condition in the modern era. Through the experiences of the novel's characters, Lady Chatterley's Lover advances techniques for coping with the modern world: retreating from society and engaging in phallic sex. However, the application of these techniques is problematic as phallic sex necessitates the abandonment of social convention, while retreating from society conflicts with phallic sex. Lawrence's tactics of retreating from society and engaging in phallic sex are a response to conditions that he perceived in England. A problem that afflicts the English people in Lawrence's novel is the pressure of social convention causing individuals to lead unhappy lives. For example, Lawrence examines the lives of colliers: "The iron and the coal had eaten deep into the bodies and souls of the men" (159). Iron and coal are also a reference to the capitalist-industrialist complex that drives the colliery, making it clear that it is capitalist values which are eating away at the men. The village of Tevershall reflects the state of its builders: "The utter negation of natural beauty, the utter negation of the gladness of life, the utter absence of the instinct for shapely beauty which every bird and beast has, the utter death of the human intuitive faculty was appalling" (152). Both the people and their dwellings have been warped by modernity. The narrator sums up the consequences of modern society for the colliers and the English people: "...a new race of mankind, over-conscious in the money and social and political side, on the spontaneous intuitive side dead, but dead. Half-corpses, all of t... ... middle of paper ... ...f phallic sex. Two strategies that D. H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover offers for coping with the modern world are phallic sex and a retreat from society. Unfortunately, the ideal of phallic sex is difficult to achieve due to the necessity of abandoning social convention, while retreating from society conflicts with having phallic sex. Lawrence's ideas offer unconventional methods for coping with modern life. However, a reader who wishes to apply these ideas must bear in mind that no amount of sex or isolation is likely to resolve the problems which plague modern society. Works Cited Lawrence, D. H.. Lady Chatterley's Lover. Ed. Michael Squires. New York: Penguin Books, 1994. Lawrence, D. H.. "A Propos of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'". Lady Chatterley's Lover. Ed. Michael Squires. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.

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