Monday, September 19, 2011

Nature imagery in LCL ~ Bonnie

One of the main characters is the game-keeper, so it isn't at all unexpected that nature would play a large part in Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence.  However, it was not something I would have looked for except for seeing it on a list of discussion questions for the book.  Here's the way I re-phrased the question for us, though you are welcome to approach this subject (and this book) with any questions you like):
3. Did you notice the nature imagery in the novel?
Probably not much when I read it back in the early 1970s.  This time, with this question to guide me, I've been paying attention, trying to think about why — and how — the author used nature imagery.  I've read six chapters, labeling these notes "nature."
"The wood was her [Lady Chatterley's] one refuge, her sanctuary.  But it was not really a refuge, a sanctuary, because she had no connection with it.  It was only a place where she could get away from the rest.  She never really touched the spirit of the wood itself . . . if it had any such nonsensical thing" (p. 19).

"Clifford loved the wood; he loved the old oak-trees.  He felt they were his own through generations.  He wanted to protect them.  He wanted this place inviolate, shut off from the world" (p. 39).
One obvious way the author is using these first two sections is to contrast the way wife and husband think about the woods.  Somewhere early on — and I can't find it right now — the book says these woods are part of Sherwood Forest or Robin Hood's woods or something like that.

"In the wood all was utterly inert and motionless, only great drops fell from the bare boughs, with a hollow little crash.  For the rest, among the old trees with depth within depth of gray, hopeless inertia, nothingness.  Connie walked dimly on.  From the old wood came an ancient melancholy, somehow soothing to her, better than the harsh insentience of the outer world.  She liked the inwardness of the remnant of forest, the unspeaking reticence of the old trees.  They seemed a very power of silence, and yet a vital presence.  They, too, were waiting:  obstinately, stoically waiting, and giving off a potency of silence.  Perhaps they were only waiting for the end; to be cut down, cleared away, the end of the forest, for them the end of all things.  But perhaps their strong and autocratic silence, the silence of strong trees, meant something else" (p. 61).
This passage seems to be used to evoke an atmosphere of hopelessness, with everything gray and bare.  But there's waiting.  Lady Chatterley and the trees are waiting for something to happen.


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Although I have already started discussing Lady Chatterley's Lover, there's nothing here that would be a spoiler, even if you haven't started reading the book.

Shirley said...

Generally, I have found posts written by those who are ahead of me in reading to be enriching rather than spoiling. Thanks for the insight on the nature references.

Jennifer said...

While I'm not reading LCL with y'all at this time, I just wanted to say I love that first image in this post, Bonnie. It's so peaceful looking and relaxing.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I've missed you, Jennifer. I hope all is well.

Jennifer said...

Aww! I miss you girls too!

Things have been okay for me lately. Just very very busy. I haven't finished a book in months. My mind is wandering too much, though I miss reading. I have been getting it in smaller doses in the forms of newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies/short stories (I cannot recommend the McSweeney's publishing house enough. They have a great website too.).

Two great-grandchildren! Oh my! Go go go, Bonnie! I'm glad to hear that you like your new home. Are you still in the same city?

Even though I didn't post any comments at the time (when ya'll read Rand early this summer), I hop over and read the blog when I get the emails. I'm especially nostalgic as ya'll were my first book club and it always makes me smile to see you doing another group read, even when I'm not reading with you.

Love and hugs to all ya'll!

Shirley said...

I've gone through spells as well in which I haven't been able to focus enough to read a book. Although I am reading books again, I don't read nearly as much as I used to. I've been bitten by the quilting bug and that takes up more and more of my time.

Book Buddies was one of the first book groups I joined, too. Lots of good reads!

I hope you're able to join us for a read later on.

We gave up on Atlas Shrugged. The current read is off to a slow start. The premise sounded quite intriguing, but the long descriptions become tedious. I'm hoping the pace picks up both with the novel and our discussion.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Jenn, I'm actually within about five miles or so from ALL my kids, grands, and great-grands. We all gave up on Atlas Shrugged, and I eventually took the book (unfinished) to trade at a used book store. I agree with Shirley that Lady Chatterley's Lover can be tedious, so I'm only about halfway through it. I do need to post something else about it -- soon.

Jennifer said...

Oh my! I totally must have missed that ya'll had commented back in my inbox. I was just stopping by to check the blog. =)

I read two of Ayn Rand's when I was younger (high school/college aged maybe). But not Atlas Shrugged. Anthem and The Fountainhead. I think I still have the books somewhere. I remember liking them at the time, but I'm not sure I would now.

Of D.H. Lawrence, I've read Sons and Lovers and Women in Love. Also awhile back, but not quite as far as the Rand's. I remember liking them as well.

Shirley said...

Good to hear from you, Jennifer.
I hope your life becomes less hectic even though being too busy to read can be a good thing so I hope that is the way it is for you.

As you can tell, discussion has been minimal on Lady Chatterley's Lover. The book has some somewhat erotic scenes (far less so far than the title suggests) with a rather tiring amount of discussion that makes one want to scream the Nike slogan, "Just Do It!"

As we started to read this, Pat Robertson's comment that the spouse of someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease has grounds for divorce. Rather startling given his conservative background. It did, however, make me think of the book as, even though Clifford, does know his wife, he is unable to fulfill part of his marriage. Would that fall in with Robertson's approval of justification for divorce? Does Clifford's physical inability morally justify adultery especially given his approval?