Current book: Women In Love
Pages read: 81-176
I think the rose petal that our cat ate has caused him to go completely mad. This is not related to Women In Love.
Apropos of literature, Gudrun has fallen in love with Gerald and Ursula with Birkin, but both women are struggling with the fact that they have deep reservations about the men to whom they're attracted. (I would like to take this moment to point out that I tried to leave the preposition at the end of that sentence, so that I'd sound more like a normal person, and I was incapable of letting it stay published. The end.) Birkin's problem is that he "doesn't believe in love," in that horrible, philosophizing, jaded way that people think they don't believe in love when a) they've never really experienced it and b) they're afraid of what it might do to them. (Not that I'm editorializing or anything. Because this blog never indulges in knee-jerk criticism. Ever. Really.) Gerald, on the other hand, is just horribly classist and sexist. I'm not really sure which problem is worse, but at least Gerald might be educated out of his. Anyway, both couples are basically in the midst of courting, although there's a great moment before Birkin is obviously involved with Ursula when Hermione whacks him on the head with a lapis lazuli paperweight. That's classic literature right there, guys.
The couples, now, are being seen in public together, and go to a public picnic and boating party hosted by the Criches that's a village tradition. They have a lovely day, during which Gudrun and Ursula take an afternoon boating trip alone and use the opportunity to bathe naked in the river. It might seem like a little lesbian-tinted moment of voyeurism, but actually, it's a nice tie back to two earlier episodes in the novel - the first, I mentioned before, when the two girls long to be able to swim in public like men, and the second, at Hermione's party, when the crowd goes swimming together and both girls refuse to join in. It's interesting that they refuse in company but swim together in private, and indicative of the fact that their longing for freedom is ever constrained by society. Even when freedoms are offered in a limited way, such as swimming with a group in bathing costume, they are unsatisfied - it must be unobserved, naked swimming, or it's just not good enough. (I like it. Stick to your guns, Brangwen sisters. Your naked, solitary guns.) When they return, they split back into couples, but there's a tragic accident during which Gerald's sister and her beau are drowned, and that's pretty much the end of that party.
D. H. Lawrence pretty much rocks. I don't know how he does it, but even though the book consists almost entirely of his characters sitting around talking (aside from paperweight-assault and accidental drownings, that is), I'm still captivated by his prose. The conversation, as I mentioned in the last post, is so sharp and intelligent and viciously pointed that I can't help but both enjoy and be drawn to analyze and apply it.
Also, he used the phrase "meretricious persiflage." Oh, man. Stuff like that is why I majored in English.
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