Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’: Readalong Post Two

I had originally scheduled this to post itself yesterday. More to the point, actually, I thought I had. Turns out not so much. So a little belatedly, here are my thoughts on the second half of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence.

This is the second half of the Lady Chatterley’s Lover readalong hosted over at A Literary Odyssey.

My post on the first half of the book can be found here.

I rolled into the second half of the book admiring Lady Chatterley in a strange way for having the character to go against social conventions and take her husband’s gamekeeper as her lover. My admiration was rapidly sapped by the second half of the book. As Lady Chatterley falls more in love with Mellors, she loses the spark and sense of independence that I had so respected and becomes rather feable. I admit that by the end I had come back around slightly towards respect, it was far away from how I felt in the first half. Perhaps I’m more of a feminist than I realised but I was frustrated by Lady Chatterley doggedly pursuing freedom from Clifford only to lose her sense of self and individuality in her love of Mellors.

I also found that the portrayals of sex became more…odd. I appreciate that the effect that might have been being pursued was one of unity and of the characters merging together but the excessive references to waves and colours became a bit much for me. Don’t judge me for preferring the earlier sensory descriptions to the later metaphorical ones!

Clifford remained as vain and uncharismatic as he was early on. More so, I suppose, as he begins to fear Connie’s independence.

I think the most interesting character of the second part of the book is Mrs. Bolton, a carer taken on by Connie to free herself from the role. Mrs. Bolton highlights the disparity between the classes brilliantly. She is intrigued by her upper class employers and is eager to learn more about their lies but at the same time despises Clifford as the owner of the mines that killed her husband. The relationship between the two is extremely complex and I found it kind of disturbing. She treats him as a child, and he is happy to let her, becoming increasingly dependant on her. I’m sure Freud would have had a field day…

Again, I find myself writing about the characers but I’ve been left with an impression that they were the novel. The plot felt almost incidental to how they developed and interacted and were affected by external forces.

Overall: I’m definitely glad I read this book – it does raise some interesting points on social class, love and sex and social history. There isn’t so much in the way of plot but the characters are interesting enough that it doesn’t seem to matter. I think it would perhaps benefit from being read quickly, as I found that my dawdling through the second half just allowed me more time to become annoyed by Lady Chatterley.

The writing style is strong and direct and it’s worth reading if just to experience Lawrence’s unique voice. I would read other books by Lawrence so I suppose that’s as good an indication of my impression as any!