Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Repent at leisure.

Current book: Women In Love
Pages read: 265-368

Ursula and Birkin successfully make up, and Ursula, though reluctant, agrees to marry Birkin. They fight a lot, mostly about Hermione and Birkin's tendency to be a jackass, but there you are. Gudrun has become a little disillusioned with Gerald; the two have a jovial conversation about how marriage was unnecessary and ridiculous, but when Ursula runs off with Birkin and does the deed (which results in estrangement from her parents) Gudrun begins to have second thoughts.

Gerald's father finally dies, and, in need of comfort, he sneaks into Gudrun's room in the night. She receives him, though she's surprised, and allows him to sleep in her arms for a few hours. Rather than pitying him and growing more fond of him a result, however, she finds herself disgusted by him, both physically and emotionally (kind of the reverse-Florence-Nightingale-effect). Nothing much comes of it, but it's an interesting scene that illustrates Gudrun's unconventional reactions to the circumstances of relationships. After Birkin and Ursula's marriage, the two decide they simply want to wander around Europe a while, and Gerald and Gudrun decide to accompany them for a short while, at least. Gerald and Gudrun head off to London first, where we see Gudrun meet one of Gerald's former lovers in a club, though again, nothing comes of it. The couples are scheduled to meet at Innsbruck in a week or two.

I'm refraining from much analysis until the conclusion, but I'll just say this - I'm astonished by Lawrence's bravery and frankness in describing sex, lust, and taboo relationships. It doesn't surprise me that he was banned left and right, but it surprises the hell out of me that he was brave enough to put his name on something so starkly truthful and dangerous, and that he was willing to attribute to everyday people sexual needs and philosophies so completely unacceptable to public sentiment. Very, very brave man, that David Herbert.

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