Mystical ideas about heaven, hell, angels, and the devil have been present in human lives for most of history. While some people simply take what is given to them without considering what else might be out there, others have faith in higher beings and need that support to survive. "A Fragment of Stained Glass" by D. H. Lawrence delves into the questionable beliefs of a mystical world outside our own material world. Lawrence develops these ideas by using a frame story that does not truly reveal itself to the reader until the end of the story. Understanding the underlying details that tie the frame story together is one of the hardest elements of the story to grasp. While the story may be confusing, using a frame story allows Lawrence to show the reader that mysticism lies within the eyes of the beholder.
The frame story describes an exchange between the narrator and the vicar of the town Beauvale in England. The narrator has come to learn about the book that the vicar is writing, which is a compilation of stories about the English people and their personal encounters with non-worldly beings. The vicar reads the narrator a story about monks who lived in Beauvale in the fifteenth century and their encounter with what they believe is a devil. The monks look up from praying in the church to find a devil prying away at their window. The narrator, however, does not dwell on this story; instead, he moves on to inquire about the book the vicar is writing. In moving past this initial story, Lawrence sets up the frame story, but the reader is left to wonder how the story of the monks will connect with the inner story. The vicar subsequently begins telling the narrato...
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...ld not have concluded that spirituality within the beholder affects the way in which individuals see the world. The need of these two groups of people to believe in a higher being or protector helped them to endure hardships; by showing these actions, Lawrence brings new light to the meaning behind faith.
Baim, Joseph. "Past and Present in D. H. Lawrence's 'A Fragment of Stained Glass.'" Studies in
Short Fiction. Newberry, South Carolina: The State Printing Co., 1971. 323-326.
Baker, P. G. "By the Help of Certain Notes: A Source for D. H. Lawrence's 'A Fragment of
Stained Glass.'" Studies in Short Fiction. Newberry, South Carolina: The R.L. Bryan
Company, 1980. 317-326.
Lawrence, D. H. "A Fragment of Stained Glass." The Complete Short Stories Volume 1. New
York: Viking Press, 1922. 187-196.
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