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Thread: D.H. Lawrence's Short Stories Thread

  1. #196
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    It is interesting that in a story that is a psycho-drama of two characters that Lawrence starts the story from neither character's point of view or internal stream of consciousness. Aesthetically it ties together with the perspective at the conclusion of the story, giving the story a sort of circular form. It starts and then ends from a sort of common perspective of the all the soldiers. But what really catches my eye about that first paragraph is the dichotomy of imagery: light and shade, sky and mountain, dark patches versues white snow, hot and cold. Actually that cold seems rather forced, "While the feet of the soldiers grew hotter, sweat ran through their hair under their helmets, and their knapsacks could burn no more in contact with their shoulders, but seemed instead to give off a cold, prickly sensation." I'm not sure how hot knapsacks give off a cold sensation, except perhaps from cooling sweat underneath. But this dichotomy of imagery and sensation does set the story up for the dichotomy between the characters, and which I think fits into what I'll later argue as the overall theme of the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by inspirangel
    However, without yet referring to the physical state the orderly finds himself in, I wonder whether the psychological drama is the only issue, or rather, whether it can be isolated from mans instinct for self-preservation.
    That is a very interesting thought inspir, something I had not considered. Self-preservation may be a theme I had never considered here. It makes sense given that Part III is almost all about self-preservation, and really the elaborateness of Part III after the initial climax (killing the Officer) was a little puzzling to me. Perhaps we can talk first about that when we get to Part III. Perhaps we should talk about the realtionship between the two main characters, as brought out in Part I.
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  2. #197
    inspirangel
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    Heat/Cold

    No ! Anyone who has ever lugged a weighty knapsack, rucksack, camping bag or similar on a hot day will be familiar with this one!! There is a point when skin/blisters etc get SO painful they almost feel cold instead of hot (Im guessing some folks have had it easy in their childhoods compared to others ) - also, think of sunburn - ouch:

    About the self-preservation - it struck me afterwards that maybe I subconciously seek to let lawrence off lightly here, in an effort to excuse the happenings !! and because I am more interested in that relationship - between writer and reader - than I am between the 2 protagonists !!! It seems to me that the hero is in a similar situation to a woman or a dependent child because he has no power and that self-defence is no offence in desperate circumstances !! Or is that a woman thing (can I even hint that these days!)- I will be interested to know what others think here?

  3. #198
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inspirangel View Post
    No ! Anyone who has ever lugged a weighty knapsack, rucksack, camping bag or similar on a hot day will be familiar with this one!! There is a point when skin/blisters etc get SO painful they almost feel cold instead of hot (Im guessing some folks have had it easy in their childhoods compared to others ) - also, think of sunburn - ouch:
    Ok, I'll take your word for it. The sensation is real. Then we can agree that Lawrence is after this duelistic dichotomy?

    About the self-preservation...It seems to me that the hero is in a similar situation to a woman or a dependent child because he has no power and that self-defence is no offence in desperate circumstances !! Or is that a woman thing (can I even hint that these days!)- I will be interested to know what others think here?
    The orderly (the hero) is referred to as submissive at one point. Yes, there is that quality, but what does Lawrence mean by it? There is a question of power in this story, and it does seem to be linked to your notion of self-preservsation.
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  4. #199
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Presently I don't have the time to address all ideas here, but I did read everything so far, and found everyone's posts interesting. I want to think about it and post later tonight.

    For now I am reposting this because I am not sure it was noticed. In this part of my last post, directly after Virgil's introduction, I stated:

    The last line is of particular interest to me, seeming to encompass the two contrasting modes of temperature - "While the feet of the soldiers grew hotter, sweat ran through their hair under their helmets, and their knapsacks could burn no more in contact with their shoulders, but seemed instead to give off a cold, prickly sensation."

    So here we have the words hotter, sweat, burn and yet the sweat has created a cooling sensation in the final 3 words. The contrast is complete and brilliantly devised to set our stage to present the basic theme of the story - a story of stark contrasts.
    inspirangel, Yes, I agree with you that pain can feel like cold. If everyone notices L uses 'sensation' as the word to describe the 'cooling'. I think Virgil has pointed out well that this sets up duality. I felt the same when I said stark contrasts. I like the way you went a bit further than my posted ideas on the contrasts. When I first read the passage I had noticed this "dichotomy of imagery: light and shade, sky and mountain, dark patches versues white snow, hot and cold," which you so aptly pointed out. There is a lot in that first paragraph alone. It is a great opener to the story, setting up a tone of duality and contrast.

    Earlier, I asked if this would be considered a "frame story" or if anyone would know what form this type story would be termed in which the story begins near the ending and then tells the beginning in the middle, therefore being told out of context. I ask this again? Does anyone know?

    Personally I think it would be benificial to stick to each section. I know that in discussing the book of the month recently, "Ethan Frome", the talks kept lacking in direction and in focus, and even just commenced when no one knew what to discuss. It seemed the ending took over which I think was a bit unfortunate. We do have a few weeks or a whole month to discuss this short story. I tend to jump ahead myself, also; but could we work from the beginning and develop things such as character analysis, etc and how the story commenced to this point of the painful march?

    I personally thought Lawrence's introduction to the orderly quite brilliant. I agree with inpirangel that one gets a sense of the 'feminine' in the idea of being in a submissive role. I think the young man is very handsome/young/virile to the officer - but we will see that when we come to those passages further along in the text; then we can discuss that in more depth. I think the story has a lot of themes and elements, self preservation being just one. There is definitely a clash of personalities and 'jealously' certainly is another element that plays into this complex pychological situation between the officer and the orderly. Lawrence was into the pychology of man and especially would be interested in the pychology of violence/domination in this relationship between the two men. It is true that Lawrence spoke so well and so deeply to women, but he likewise felt an affinity with men, and in his later work I think this is more deeply explored. If you read his later novels this comes out more and more. I don't know when this story was written, but I would imagine it to be written later in L's career and life. Virgil, do you know when it was written by L?

    I think perhaps the female/male or feminine/masculine idea contrasting the two characters would fit to some degree with L's ideas of duality referring specifically to this story and situation.

    L had had bad experiences, himself being called up for military duty and ultimately rejected on medical reasons. However he viewed the military quite brutal and obtrusive in his life at that time, even perhaps exaggerating the insensitive treatment he recieved at the recruiting office and his own physical exam. I wondered if this story came about due to his hatred of that type of authority and bullying.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

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  5. #200
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    So here we have the words hotter, sweat, burn and yet the sweat has created a cooling sensation in the final 3 words. The contrast is complete and brilliantly devised to set our stage to present the basic theme of the story - a story of stark contrasts.
    Janine, you are absolutely right. I kind of glossed over that line you wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Earlier, I asked if this would be considered a "frame story" or if anyone would know what form this type story would be termed in which the story begins near the ending and then tells the beginning in the middle, therefore being told out of context. I ask this again? Does anyone know?
    No this is not a frame story. A frame story is something like Ethan Frome where a narrator opens the story, and then it enters the real story. This is just a digression. It starts with the main line of the narrative and it digresses to fill in the background. I said above that Part I is exposition.

    Personally I think it would be benificial to stick to each section. I know that in discussing the book of the month recently, "Ethan Frome", the talks kept lacking in direction and in focus, and even just commenced when no one knew what to discuss.
    Yes, I agree. Let's look at Part I first. I started with the charcter's characteristics. Now let's look at their relationship. Why do the Captain and his orederly hate each other? Can we pin that down?

    Virgil, do you know when it was written by L?
    Yes, I did look it up and I forgot to put it in the inital summary. He wrote this story in 1913 and published in 1914. This puts it around just after Sons and Lovers.

    I think perhaps the female/male or feminine/masculine idea contrasting the two characters would fit to some degree with L's ideas of duality referring specifically to this story and situation.
    Before we get to the psycho drama, shouldn't we try to pin down why they have this attitude toward each other? Or is it so vague that we have assume it's all psychological?

    L had had bad experiences, himself being called up for military duty and ultimately rejected on medical reasons. However he viewed the military quite brutal and obtrusive in his life at that time, even perhaps exaggerating the insensitive treatment he recieved at the recruiting office and his own physical exam. I wondered if this story came about due to his hatred of that type of authority and bullying.
    I would have to look that up, but I think he wrote this story before they tried to get him in the military. Why is it a "Prussian" officer and not an English officer? Why are the characters Prussian?
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  6. #201
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Janine, you are absolutely right. I kind of glossed over that line you wrote.
    Virgil, Thanks, I did feel a little dejected. I stayed up late to write it, so I hope you did read it by now.

    No this is not a frame story. A frame story is something like Ethan Frome where a narrator opens the story, and then it enters the real story. This is just a digression. It starts with the main line of the narrative and it digresses to fill in the background. I said above that Part I is exposition.
    So it is called a digression. Is that a literary term? Is an exposition part of a digression? I am not familiar with either terms in literature....probably dumby me.

    Yes, I agree. Let's look at Part I first. I started with the charcter's characteristics. Now let's look at their relationship. Why do the Captain and his orederly hate each other? Can we pin that down?
    I would like to post the next paragraphs, but I don't want to be the only one to comment on them. Shall I post them tonight? The next paragraph refers to the officer (I stopped just short of this knowing the shift was to the other character). We get some description of the his behavoir and manor the day of the marching, if I recall correctly, from the next few paragraphs. It introduces us to him for the first time. Therefore, I think our first impression is important, since L obviously wrote in this sequence, wanting this to be our first glimpse of the Captain.

    Yes, I did look it up and I forgot to put it in the inital summary. He wrote this story in 1913 and published in 1914. This puts it around just after Sons and Lovers.
    Oh, that is pretty early. I thought this story would have probably been a later one. Glad you looked it up. Thanks. I like to put them into context with what was going on in L's life - since his views kept evolving.
    Before we get to the psycho drama, shouldn't we try to pin down why they have this attitude toward each other? Or is it so vague that we have assume it's all psychological?
    Yes, exactly - we have to work up to that part - that all comes out later. I don't think the reason is that vague; we just have to seek a little for it. It is there in the words - key words. But I do think it is very psychological, at least on the part of the officer.
    Virgil, you know when I first read this paragraph of yours I though you wrote 'psychobable' and not 'psycho drama'

    I would have to look that up, but I think he wrote this story before they tried to get him in the military. Why is it a "Prussian" officer and not an English officer? Why are the characters Prussian?
    Yes, I did wonder about it being a Prussian officer. I think I might understand why. It had a lot to do with his fascination with aristocracy. But even this should be touched on later, don't you think?
    Last edited by Janine; 05-02-2007 at 12:18 AM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

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  7. #202
    Shinigami wannabe malwethien's Avatar
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    Hey everyone..very interesting discussion so far (I have to read it all again later...). I'd just like to give my 2 cents on the relationship between the 2 characters (as of this time I am unable to post direct quotes from the story) I could be just imagining it too...jealousy seems to be major 'emotion.' Is the Prussian Officer jealous of his orderly because his orderly has more "freedom" than him...or maybe the Prussian Officer remembers how his life was before he became an officer...? Where exactly is a "Prussian" officer from? Is it modern day Austria? Sorry...later I will post some passages from the story to back up my ideas.....
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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malwethien View Post
    Hey everyone..very interesting discussion so far (I have to read it all again later...). I'd just like to give my 2 cents on the relationship between the 2 characters (as of this time I am unable to post direct quotes from the story) I could be just imagining it too...jealousy seems to be major 'emotion.' Is the Prussian Officer jealous of his orderly because his orderly has more "freedom" than him...or maybe the Prussian Officer remembers how his life was before he became an officer...? Where exactly is a "Prussian" officer from? Is it modern day Austria? Sorry...later I will post some passages from the story to back up my ideas.....
    Hi malwethien, glad you popped in with a few comments and ideas. Yes, so far this discussion has gotten off to a fine start; quite interesting.

    I think when we get further into the story and discussion we will see things that do indicate jealousy on the part of the Officer to the orderly. I think he is jealous due to several reasons. His character is a complicated one. I had not thought that the orderly, younger man had anymore freedom than the Officer; I think they both are in a sort of servitude being in the service, although the Officer is higher-up and can lord is authority over the youth, therefore he turns into a sort of bully. When we get to that part I will point it out about his first feelings towards the orderly. If I recall corectly, there was a time he admired him for his fine physic and other qualities or was it the other way around....not sure now.

    I thought maybe it best to post some more paragraphs having to do with this first introductory part, then work up to all of the interaction between the two men in the Part 2 section.

    I am going to go look up those next lines now and maybe I will post some after this post, but can't promise.
    Right now I am watching another movie. I actually wanted to watch two tonight, but already it is late and I am a little tired. I stayed up waaaay too late last night
    Last edited by Janine; 05-02-2007 at 12:20 AM.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  9. #204
    Shinigami wannabe malwethien's Avatar
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    Yes I will also post some quotes later to back up my statement....
    "Deep in the fundamental heart of mind and universe...there is a reason."

    - Douglas Adams

  10. #205
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    The Captain’s hand had trembled at taking his coffee at dawn: his orderly saw it again. And he saw the fine figure of the Captain wheeling on horseback at the farm-house ahead, a handsome figure in pale blue uniform with facings of scarlet, and the metal gleaming on the black helmet and the sword-scabbard, and dark streaks of sweat coming on the silky bay horse. The orderly felt he was connected with that figure moving so suddenly on horseback: he followed it like a shadow, mute and inevitable and damned by it. And the officer was always aware of the tramp of the company behind, the march of his orderly among the men.
    This paragraph seems to be taken from the orderly's point of view, up until the last sentence which turns the focus back to the officer. I find this statement very interesting "The orderly felt he was connected with that figure..." and then the last line, both connecting the two men in an invisible/secret way from the awareness of the rest of the company.

    The Captain was a tall man of about forty, grey at the temples. He had a handsome, finely knit figure, and was one of the best horsemen in the West. His orderly, having to rub him down, admired the amazing riding-muscles of his loins.
    Now this paragraph seems to pull us into the past; memory of the orderly rubbing him down and admiring his loin muscles. I am not sure if this whole paragraph is still from the point of view of the orderly, but it still seems to be.

    For the rest, the orderly scarcely noticed the officer any more than he noticed himself. It was rarely he saw his master’s face: he did not look at it. The Captain had reddish-brown, stiff hair, that he wore short upon his skull. His moustache was also cut short and bristly over a full, brutal mouth. His face was rather rugged, the cheeks thin. Perhaps the man was the more handsome for the deep lines in his face, the irritable tension of his brow, which gave him the look of a man who fights with life. His fair eyebrows stood bushy over light blue eyes that were always flashing with cold fire.
    This again seems to be an impartial and true description of the Captain (by the author) and gives a vivid idea of his face and contenence. There is contrast in his looks and the 'cold fire' of his blue eyes seems to further emphasis' the contrast of cold and hot.
    He was a Prussian aristocrat, haughty and overbearing. But his mother had been a Polish Countess. Having made too many gambling debts when he was young, he had ruined his prospects in the Army, and remained an infantry captain. He had never married: his position did not allow of it, and no woman had ever moved him to it. His time he spent riding—occasionally he rode one of his own horses at the races—and at the officers’ club. Now and then he took himself a mistress. But after such an event, he returned to duty with his brow still more tense, his eyes still more hostile and irritable. With the men, however, he was merely impersonal, though a devil when roused; so that, on the whole, they feared him, but had no great aversion from him. They accepted him as the inevitable.
    This statement seems to be from the POV of the author and the company - last couple statements. I think it says a great deal about the officer, revealing much about his character and temperment, etc.

    Malwethien, you may be right about the orderly having more freedom, or it might just be that the two men actually both share the lack of any real freedom. Refer to the statement about the officer not having aspired to be what he could have been, by ruining his prospects in the army (gambling), thereby remaining an infantry catain only; also if you notice the officer seems to be hemmed in with his position and life, which never allowed for marriage. In a way the captain is living a life of servitude, as well as the orderly, but in a higher rank. They both are trapped. This last paragraph gives a kind of motive and reason for the captain's violent behavior. Perhaps frustrations on his part? He seems to carry a grudge and to have a bad opinion inwardly of himself.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

    Chapter 7, The Little Prince ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  11. #206
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    I particularly like the references here to the land, the half earth the half heaven and the heaven. To me this indicates a definite progression upward and fortells something profound and heavenly to come later in the story. Again the "snow" and "bluish peaks" evoke a heavenly realm to be longed for and a goal to march towards.
    I agree that this half land/half sky is significant, Janine. It's symbolic for the duelistic world view that L has. I had never thought about it as a goal, and the orderly is escaping towards it in Part III. So I think you have something there.

    It is now evident that the heat represents pain and the cold some kind of relief/hope of escape from pain. I think, as the story progresses, this will take on much deeper significance and become more evident and prominent in the theme and role of the contrasts.
    Good points. I just took them as opposite halves of a binary, but I think there is particular meaning to each half.
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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    So it is called a digression. Is that a literary term? Is an exposition part of a digression? I am not familiar with either terms in literature....probably dumby me.
    Here's a quick definition of exposition.
    Exposition
    In drama, the presentation of essential information regarding what has occurred prior to the beginning of the play. In the exposition to William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," two servants of the house of Capulet discuss the feud between their master and the house of Montague, thereby letting the audience know that such a feud exists and that it will play an important role in influencing the plot.
    In the exposition to the film "Star Wars," Luke Skywalker sees a 3D holograph projection of the Princess Lea warning that she is a prisoner of Darth Vader and begging for help.
    http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/lausd/res...tml#Exposition

    Janine, I do think the fact that the Officer is an aristocrat is significant. It emphasizes, actually heightens, the power relationship between the two characters. It also, and I'm going beyond the story a little now, brings out some of the societal relationship ideas that L would bring out in his works after the world war, sometimes referred to as his leadership novels. Kangaroo is his best example. Actually I never quite understood his leadership ideas that well, but I gathered that L did not really believe in democracy and that it was natural to have a hiearchy of people. But there is an symbiotic relationship between the more common man and the aristocrat. I know our sympathies are roughly with the orderly in this story; however, I don't think L is saying everything to do with the orderly is good and everything with the Captain is bad. I look at this story (and if you think I'm wrong, please correct me) as the two characters being two sides of a coin. It takes both to form a complete unit. Sort of like Lawrence's ideas on male/female realtionship.
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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malwethien View Post
    Hey everyone..very interesting discussion so far (I have to read it all again later...). I'd just like to give my 2 cents on the relationship between the 2 characters (as of this time I am unable to post direct quotes from the story) I could be just imagining it too...jealousy seems to be major 'emotion.' Is the Prussian Officer jealous of his orderly because his orderly has more "freedom" than him...or maybe the Prussian Officer remembers how his life was before he became an officer...? Where exactly is a "Prussian" officer from? Is it modern day Austria? Sorry...later I will post some passages from the story to back up my ideas.....
    Here's a little on Prussia from Wikipedia:
    Prussia (German: Preußen (help·info); Latin: Borussia, Prutenia; Latvian: Prūsija; Lithuanian: Prūsija; Polish: Prusy; Old Prussian: Prūsa) was, most recently, a historic state originating in Brandenburg, an area which for centuries had substantial influence on German and European history. The last capital of Prussia was Berlin.

    The name Prussia derives from the Old Prussians, a Baltic people related to the Lithuanians and Latvians; "Old Prussia" was later conquered by the Teutonic Knights and then slowly Germanized. The union of the Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia in 1618 led to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701.

    Prussia attained its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century, it became a great European power under the reign of Frederick II of Prussia (1740–86). During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck pursued a policy of uniting the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany" which would exclude the Austrian Empire.
    You can find more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussia.

    It seems like it was mostly what is today northeast Germany and had a fine military tradition.
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  14. #209
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Virgil, I just came online and right to this thread and read all your wrote. Thanks for the definition of exposition. I am not sure I fully understand the relationship to our particular story. It seems that in "Romeo and Juliet" the two discussing the the family feud are outsiders(servants) and not those directly involved in the feud. The Princess Lea example is a supernatural sort of visation such as Hamlet's father's ghost. I have to further read the link you provided to fully understand this concept. But thanks for looking it up.

    It makes great sense to me that Prussian refers to early German and European history. As you probably know Lawrence was always very enamoured with German history and especially aristocracy - he married into it. In fact by this time - 1913, when he wrote PO he had already eloped with Frieda (1912). He became very close to her family, especially her mother. At this particular time he wrote Prussian Officer, I found an interesting reference to it in one of my biographies:

    The atmostphere of Bavaria that spring elicited a short story about an army officer who beats his orderly. It was, Lawrence claimed with justice, the best he had ever done. Garnett must have agreed, for he later made it the title story in The Prussian Officer and Other Stories. What Prussian Officer?" fumed Lawrence when he saw the title Garnett had appended to the story and the book, discarding his own title, "Honour and Arms" in the process. But the answer seems obvious: Baron von Richthofen, whose experiences, relayed to Lawrence through Frieda and the baron's diaries, gave him searing details, such as "I whipped an artillery officer with my sabre." But the story's intimations of the latent homosexuality of military life came from Lawrence himself. To Garnett, Lawrence amplified his thoughts, saying that "cruelty is a form of perverted sex. I want to dogmatise. Priests in their celibacy....Inquisitions, soldiers herded together, men and women." D.H.Lawrence The Story of a Marriage, by Brenda Maddox, Copyright 1994
    Baron von Richthofen, I believe was his father-in-law, Frieda's father, for those unaware of the connection. So when he wrote this story the time was very significant. Also, we know how much Lawrence drew on real people and experiences, even those he heard of through others. And we know how he could exaggerate or alter character to suit the story. He also lost many a friend, along the way in doing so, when they might recognise just who the characters were being portrayed. Whether he really fashioned the image of the officer after his father-in-law or altered that image, in irrelevant only in it did depict that military mindset that Lawrence must have keenly observed, even in the diaries. Lawrence was a great observer of life and so I think this passage more than true about the correlation between the Baron and the diary, especially. Can you imagine what Lawrence could do with a diary full of first hand information? His imagination must have gone wild! Also, I believe that Garnett (his publisher) changed other titles and Lawrence was not pleased one bit, in fact he spouted off about it much. Who would blame him?
    Now it gets really interesting about the sexual elements in the story. I felt this element might be there all along and a glimpse of that in the second set of paragraphs I posted describing the officer.
    I think that inpirangel has something about the female feeling one gets with the younger man. I think this would, in L's eyes, parallel a similar relationship of dominance with male/female, a sort of parellel, relating to sex. This is further supported by his own statement: "cruelty is a form of perverted sex. I want to dogmatise. Priests in their celibacy....Inquisitions, soldiers herded together, men and women," last words being "men and women".

    I agree that this half land/half sky is significant, Janine. It's symbolic for the duelistic world view that L has. I had never thought about it as a goal, and the orderly is escaping towards it in Part III. So I think you have something there.
    Yes, this passage is very significant I believe and also the part about half earth, half heaven, heaven....and a goal or something to be attained. The mountains and the whiteness and purity of the snow is a symbol for Lawrence. In "Women in Love" it plays a very prominent part. I don't want to tell you, since this will spoil the book for you. In my recent readings of the travel books there are many references to snow being something longed for, something close to heaven. I will look them up tonight and try to quote some passages later or tomorrow.

    Asside, from all this, which gets into the book's depths, I wondered what you think of the first impressions of the officer, as I have layed it out in my other post #205, (with paragraphs and comments) when he is first presented to us....a very graphic portrait of the man, isn't it?
    Last edited by Janine; 05-02-2007 at 05:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    Virgil, I just came online and right to this thread and read all your wrote. Thanks for the definition of exposition. I am not sure I fully understand the relationship to our particular story. It seems that in "Romeo and Juliet" the two discussing the the family feud are outsiders(servants) and not those directly involved in the feud. The Princess Lea example is a supernatural sort of visation such as Hamlet's father's ghost. I have to further read the link you provided to fully understand this concept. But thanks for looking it up.
    Just think of exposition as filling in the missing information. Lawrence does it here by a sort of digression, a going backwards in time. He stops the narrative flow by going back. It's not complicated. You're probably over thinking here.

    It makes great sense to me that Prussian refers to early German and European history. As you probably know Lawrence was always very enamoured with German history and especially aristocracy - he married into it. In fact by this time - 1913, when he wrote PO he had already eloped with Frieda (1912). He became very close to her family, especially her mother. At this particular time he wrote Prussian Officer, I found an interesting reference to it in one of my biographies:

    Baron von Richthofen, I believe was his father-in-law, Frieda's father, for those unaware of the connection. So when he wrote this story the time was very significant. Also, we know how much Lawrence drew on real people and experiences, even those he heard of through others. And we know how he could exaggerate or alter character to suit the story. He also lost many a friend, along the way in doing so, when they might recognise just who the characters were being portrayed. Whether he really fashioned the image of the officer after his father-in-law or altered that image, in irrelevant only in it did depict that military mindset that Lawrence must have keenly observed, even in the diaries. Lawrence was a great observer of life and so I think this passage more than true about the correlation between the Baron and the diary, especially. Can you imagine what Lawrence could do with a diary full of first hand information? His imagination must have gone wild! Also, I believe that Garnett (his publisher) changed other titles and Lawrence was not pleased one bit, in fact he spouted off about it much. Who would blame him?
    Now it gets really interesting about the sexual elements in the story. I felt this element might be there all along and a glimpse of that in the second set of paragraphs I posted describing the officer.
    That is great biographical background to the story Janine. Your knowledge of his life is invaluable. Thanks.

    I think that inpirangel has something about the female feeling one gets with the younger man. I think this would, in L's eyes, parallel a similar relationship of dominance with male/female, a sort of parellel, relating to sex. This is further supported by his own statement: "cruelty is a form of perverted sex. I want to dogmatise. Priests in their celibacy....Inquisitions, soldiers herded together, men and women," last words being "men and women".
    and
    But the story's intimations of the latent homosexuality of military life came from Lawrence himself. To Garnett, Lawrence amplified his thoughts, saying that "cruelty is a form of perverted sex.
    Ah, the sexual tension theme. I wanted to hold off a little on this. I wanted to see if anyone could pinpoint a tangible reason for the conflict between the two. Or is it just sexual? I'm going to re-read the story this weekend, looking specifically for the cause of their hatred. Can you skim over Part I again and try to find it too?

    Yes, this passage is very significant I believe and also the part about half earth, half heaven, heaven....and a goal or something to be attained. The mountains and the whiteness and purity of the snow is a symbol for Lawrence. In "Women in Love" it plays a very prominent part. I don't want to tell you, since this will spoil the book for you. In my recent readings of the travel books there are many references to snow being something longed for, something close to heaven. I will look them up tonight and try to quote some passages later or tomorrow.
    Yes, I saw the similarity with Women In Love, the Birken/Gerald relationship. Definitely L is using the same imagery, and there is certainly significance there. But the Birken/Gerald relationship is quite different than the Captain/Orderly.

    Asside, from all this, which gets into the book's depths, I wondered what you think of the first impressions of the officer, as I have layed it out in my other post #205, (with paragraphs and comments) when he is first presented to us....a very graphic portrait of the man, isn't it?
    Yes, I think we've said a lot already about the character's characteristics. Except for one detail there, and that is the horse. Horses repeatedly show up in L works, and just like Gerald is on horseback in WIL, the Captain is on horseback here.
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