Anti establishment. Liberated. Two words that come to my mind when I think of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. Followed by ‘Brutal’ and ‘Explicit’.
We are in the 21st century, sex has been acknowledged as a physical and fulfilling activity in its own right. We are more than exposed to it in all sorts of media around us. Even then DH Lawrence manages to shock and provoke his reader into questioning his own value system.
There is nothing unusual in the storyline : a woman stifled in a sexless and loveless marriage to a disabled person lusts after a manly and arrogant hireling of her husband. One annoying person had actually suggested that this is just a well written progression to Mills & Boons. Maybe on the surface it is. But if you look deeper there are larger issues at hand.
The core theme of the book is about fulfillment – of the mind and body. Both are essential and having only one can slowly but surely stifle you. Connie, our heroine, a fairly liberated soul, who has had her share of flings , settles down with Cliffard, a titled man , but crippled. He is an above average writer, able to make money off the writings, aiming to seek only mental fulfillment – as he probably can’t have any other. He lusts after more success, wallowing in low self-esteem that he tries to overcome by insulting the lower class.
Connie and Cliffard share a monotonous amiable relationship – no love and no hate – just mutual dependency. Deprived of physical intimacy , Connie begins to resent the mental relationship with Cliffard , all literature , all exercises of the mind – just become words – worthless meaningless words.
Like the grey and dreary town of Urthwaite, where she stays, with no gentleness and tenderness in its people, Connie feels her life is drying up.
She then meets Mellors, the game keeper, with whom she establishes a physical relationship, brought upon by loneliness and the tenderness that she senses in him. They slowly and surely fall in love. Next is how they strive to come to together.
The novel is anti-establishment – it questions the relationship between man and woman, the image of sex, England’s industrialization and it’s impact on the gentleness of society, the class system , the importance of money and the bitch goddess of success.
Its liberated in how it acknowledges the needs of a woman but Connie is not what i would call a feminist character.
Brutal and explicit – simply with the way it deals with sex, with an unabashed forthrightness – that’s proud and crude at the same time
DH Lawrence rights with certain fearless that is astonishing and pleasing at the same time. It is easy to understand why ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was such a sensational book
Verdict: Must Read