18 July 2008

The Impotent Sun and Powerful Moon.

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry that I've been out of town for our last three classes but I'll be with you again this Tuesday. I wanted to respond to Brooke's post because her comments relate to, but also challenge, my own ideas about this book. (By the way, I wish I could say what "yellow" and "white" mean...though, suns and moons, and corresponding symbols for masculinity and femininity come to mind...as well as all of Birkin's references to stars when he speaks about love).

As I read, I think I have preconceived notions about men and women that this book challenges. For instance, the moon reference that Brooke mentioned: I always regard the moon as cooling, passive, feminine, gentle. And therefore, Birkin throwing rocks at its reflection does seem like a violent gesture. The women do seem to have many characteristics of the moon's symbolism. But in this book, the symbol of the moon itself also seems powerful and violent. For instance, the moon is constantly referred to throughout Ch. XIV, when Diana and the young man violently drown. This seems more significant since Diana's (female) body was found choking the young man's body in the morning. Throughout the book, when the sun is referred to it's sometimes dawning "faintly" (the end of Ch. XIV) or it is described as a "cold sunshine" (early on in Ch. IX), both of which seem like impotent descriptions in comparison to the moon.

Randomly, I was also interested in the way that Lawrence seems to go into great detail, suddenly, about animals in a scene. Maybe this isn't very significant, but it struck me that he would spend an entire paragraph (or more) describing a horse or a herd of cattle in the middle of a somewhat intense dynamic between the people in the scene. For example, Gerald spurring his Arab horse while Ursula screamed at him (Ch. IX) and Gudrun dancing towards the cattle, filled with intense emotion, before meeting Gerald and Birkin (Ch. XIV)...later, discussion of the cattle lead to Gudrun "lightly" slapping Gerald....

...which leads back to the beginning of this discussion: these British women seem more violent that the men, overall.

I wish I were there to discuss this book in class. I was also noticing all of his references to "forward" and "backward" motion, creation vs. destruction, and the way that he describes sections of society as almost subterranean...but I couldn't fit that all in one post.

1 comment:

Brooke Foged said...

It's so funny you should say that, Emilie, because I also found those animal sections (Gerald & mare/Gudrun & bulls) to be most interesting. We talked about them for quite a long time during class.