Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lady Chatterley's Lover Readalong Post 2:

"All hopes of eternity and all gain from the past he would have given to have her there, to be wrapped warm with him in one blanket, and sleep, only sleep. It seemed the sleep with the woman in his arms was the only necessity."

Welcome to post 2 of the readalong of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover! We posted a couple of weeks ago about the first half of Lawrence's highly controversial novel. Here, we'll wrap things up a bit!

After the first half, I was curious as to where Lawrence was headed. Lady Chatterley had begun her scandalous affair with a man "below her station," and I was curious to see where Lawrence was headed with this and what the final result would be.

Lady Chatterley continues her affair, and the reader gets to be in on every moment of the scandal. She sneaks out of the house to meet him in the woods. She even escapes for a night and stays with him in his household! They have conversations about their relationship-its impropriety, her unhappiness in her "marriage," and the struggles he is facing with his own estranged wife.

It is a convoluted mess, but Lawrence's writing style truly made it come alive for me. He is a great writer with some wonderful descriptive passages. It was the same kind of writing that encouraged me to continue Sons and Lovers last winter when I hated the story.

But I will say this-I felt he was shoving a message at me repeatedly and by the time I closed the novel, I was a little sick of what he was teaching me. It is clear from the beginning that Lawrence is exploring the importance of a physical relationship in a marriage. That there must be some level of intimacy and sharing for a relationship to work. The reason Lady Chatterley continues with the affair is that she lacks that in her relationship with her husband (who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair).

And while her husband had the conversation with her early on in the novel that if she wants a child, it would be okay for her to sleep with another man, you can tell that he truly isn't okay with that (and who would be?). He becomes bitter and angry, as I believe anyone would be.

It is through all this misery and despair that Lady Chatterley has her affair. She finds a man who can be with her emotionally and physically, which is what she needs. I get the "point" of the novel and what theme Lawrence was exploring.

It should be fairly obvious why the book has been controversial since it was written. In addition to the affair, there is also the fact that it exists between a man of a lower class and well, Lady Chatterley. When a couple other characters determine who is the lover, they react in an angry fashion. How dare she have an affair with someone so inferior?

The other big issue, and the reason why the book is constantly challenged, is the language. I've read romance novels before and haven't really been shocked. But this book shocked me. The fact is, Lawrence reels you in with his writing-it is so beautiful and descriptive-and then, BAM. Sex scene. And it isn't that he is overly graphic, it is just that you don't expect it. You don't expect to see f*** and c*** in a classic of all things. I think it borders that line of vulgarity simply because you don't see it coming.

I told a girl at work that it was like reading a very old and dirty piece of erotica, but so so beautifully written, with a message and description that you couldn't help but love it.

And when I closed it, I did love it in a way. I liked the fact that it was in my face, pushing issues and ideas to the surface that I don't really think about. I like that it made me uncomfortable as it explored the connection between sexual and emotional relationships. It made me think. I like books that challenge me and give me things to think about. I like that it opened up a conversation with Matt about his thoughts on the ideas Lawrence presented.

It has also made me curious about Lawrence's other writing, which I was no so excited about after my feelings on Sons and Lovers. This was just another reminder that I cannot judge an author by one book, and that I must give authors a chance to woo me with other writing.

So what did you think of the book? Was it as scandalous as you heard it would be? If you completed your post on the second half of the readalong, please leave a link so I can link it below!


  1. I read Lady Chatterley's Lover years ago when I was an english major. I wish I had participated in your readalong. I remeber feeling similarly to you in that I was surprised by some of Lawrence's shocking language but his writing is also so beautiful. I think the character's behavior and reactions is so interesting, particularly her husband. Lawrence really makes you think about things you probably normally wouldn't. I liked how flawed and real the characters are. It's a beautifully written soap opera in some respects!

  2. I'm not sure how I feel about this book overall - I agree with you on the language front but only because it seemed so out of place with the rest of the writing. I might not go raiding bookshops for more Lawrence right away but I think I will read some more at some point. If nothing else, this was an interesting read!

    My post is here:

    Thanks for hosting!

  3. I remember being stunned (and amused) by references to "Sir John Thomas" and Lady Jane."

    My favorite passage:

    "And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst." (Chapter V)

  4. Great post! I agree with you that he did tend to shove his message at us over and over again.

    Here's mine:

  5. I really agreed with a lot your thoughts on this book- great post!

    Here is my post:

  6. I definitely didn't need as much sex as there was, but at the same time I wasn't really scandalised by it- I think I might have read to much to really be shocked by anything anymore!

    Here's my post: