22 July 2008

Just a wee thought

I just have a brief comment.  I notice that we spent considerable time discussing Gerald and Gudrun, then Ursula.  Birkin got some mention, but it seemed to be more in passing.  Our interest was more on the other three.  Perhaps it's cliche, but were the other more topical because of the violent oddities of their characters?  Birkin seems to be least violent of the four.  Throwing rocks at the moon is somewhat silly; wrestling with Gerald was mildly erotic.  Most of the time, Birkin seems to be the one on the receiving end of the violence whether physical (Hermione/Ursula) or social (the letter scene).  Even his description makes him seem as if he's barely present in this world.  I recall I liked him, but wanted him to act out or something.  I can't say that what bursts of passion he had were all that explosive.  His search for love is an universal theme, but is it because he is so abstract and ethereal that we gravitate to the more concrete characters?

1 comment:

Richard Rossi said...

I saw Birkin as Lawrence's mouthpiece in the novel. He's the one who sets out Lawrence's philosophy on love, sex, women, social change, industrialization, etc. He also frequently expresses the anti-humanist philosophy of the modernists in his diatribes against mankind. In the chapter "In the Train" he talks about it: "Let mankind pass away--time it did. The creative utterances will not cease, they will only be there. Humanity doesn't embody the utterance of the incomprehensible any more. Humanity is a dead letter. There will be an new embodiment. Let humanity disappear as quick as possible." He returns to this theme several more times and Gudren also expresses it at one point.