Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why, it looks like young men playing leapfrog.

Current book: Women In Love
Pages read: 176-265

Well, post-tragic-drowning, Ursula decides that she actually hates Birkin, and they have a pseudo-fight (meaning they pretend it's a discussion) about the incompatibility of their philosophies of love. Later, however, Birkin takes ill and disappears for a while; upon his return, Ursula convinces him to say that he loves her. Shortly afterward, he asks her to marry him, which incenses her, not because of his hypocrisy (which was what I thought it was going to be), but because it implies a desire on his part to control her, which is most notably expressed through his insistence on an immediate answer.

In the meantime, Gudrun and Gerald are falling deeper in love. (Especially Gerald, who wasn't doing a very good job of realizing his affections before now. (Because boys are stupid about that stuff.)) The father of the Crich family is ill, and Gerald and the rest of the children are feeling a considerable amount of distress about it. As a result, but also because he just wants to spend time in her company, Gerald asks Gudrun to tutor his little sister in drawing and sculpture. (The sister, Winifred, is kind of awesome. She's a sassy, bright little kid who talks like she's about twenty. (Also, Winifred, Gudrun, and Ursula? Christ, Lawrence. Punish your poor girls some more with these names, why don't you?)) Anyway, that's all fine and good and going well.

Right after Birkin's poorly received proposal, he heads to Gerald's house for a little manly comfort. And by manly comfort, I mean naked Japanese wrestling (which seems to be what I always knew as Indian wrestling, as far as I can tell). The two men strip and fight until they're sweaty and exhausted, and that makes them feel better about their relationships with women. You go right ahead and read the obvious homosexual subtext in, because it's definitely there. I mean, come on:
"He seemed to penetrate into Gerald's more solid, more diffuse bulk, to interfuse his body through the body of the other, as if to bring it subtly into subjection, always seizing with some rapid necromantic foreknowledge every motion of the other flesh, converting and counteracting it, playing upon the limbs and trunk of Gerald like some hard wind." (255)
I'm not sure it's actually possible to sound more like you're talking about sex. There's even a big discussion of the ability of men to fulfill each other's emotional needs more completely than women can fulfil them. Very Greek, this bit.

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