17 July 2008

Women in Love?

The question mark above was Connie's suggestion and I thought it was funny as well as appropriate.

There were a couple of things that I wanted to talk about that either didn't seem to fit in with our discussion tonight or for which there wasn't enough time. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with modernism (probably not), but I was intrigued by Lawrence's reference to the color of characters' gazes -- white and yellow. He always seems to use white to imply anger (in fact, white seems to be a sinister color overall), but I have no idea what yellow means. Anybody have any ideas? If not, I'm going to shoot you all white looks on Tuesday.

Also, the notes in my edition explained that Ursula was named after the goddess of the moon. I didn't read that until after I had finished the novel, but I got to thinking about that scene where she goes down to the pond in the middle of the night and watches Birkin throwing rocks into the water to obliterate the reflection of the moon ... which, of course, was white. I thought that was an interesting touch of symbolism. Perhaps Birkin was subconsciously acting out violence against Ursula? Incidentally, she seemed perfectly happy to sit there and spy on him doing this until he started talking to himself, at which time, she thought him a ridiculous fool. Yet more of that distrust of language, I think.

1 comment:

Snehal said...

I have to confess that it didn't strike me when I first read the novel.

I did a search on the Project Gutenburg version of the novel to see what came up when I looked for white and yellow and here are the best passages that I could find:

* He saw the yellow flare in her eyes, he knew the unthinkable overweening assumption of primacy in her. She was unconscious of it herself. She was only too ready to knock her head on the ground before a man. But this was only when she was so certain of her man, that she could worship him as a woman worships her own infant, with a worship of perfect possession.

* 'Since you choose to degrade yourself,' he said. Again the flash came over her face, the yellow lights concentrated in her eyes.

* She looked up at him. The wonderful yellow light in her eyes now was soft and yielded, they were at peace with each other. He kissed her, softly, many, many times. A laugh came into her eyes.

* She drew herself up and set back her throat, her eyes shining yellow
and dangerous.

* He looked round at her, and his face, very pale and unreal, seemed to gleam with a whiteness almost phosphorescent.

* 'Isn't it a FOOL!' she cried. 'Isn't it a sickening FOOL ?' The vindictive mockery in her voice made his brain quiver. Glancing up at him, into his eyes, she revealed again the mocking, white-cruel recognition.

I am not sure that there is enough here to draw conclusions from, but I would be curious to read what passages you found of interest on the white/yellow glances.