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Thread: Sexual relationships in Women in Love...

  1. #1
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    Sexual relationships in Women in Love...

    Right, so I've got this rather large essay on Women in Love and was hoping if I could gain an opinion or two on the sexual relationships between the characters? As it's such an important factor to the plot, I thought it might be an interesting discussion...but I guess we'll see how interested everyone is!

    I find that the relationship between Gudrun and Gerald is extremely self destructive with each characters obsession with control and power over the other...I find that their relationship is the complete opposite to Birkin and Ursula...but in what ways would you say? Any one interested in giving their opinion?
    Also Gerald's domineering personality and his thirst for control gives reason to his inability to release his sub-conscious thoughts, which again is in opposite to the character of Birkin...who is comfortable with the power of nature and the power of the sub-conscious...
    ...would one say that this gives (some sort of) reason to the sexual chemistry between the two characters?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...!

  2. #2
    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Hi nice hair, we discussed Women in Love a few years back - see this thread -

    http://www.online-literature.com/for...ad.php?t=25347

    If the link does not work the thread is titled:

    June / Lawrence Reading: 'Women in Love'

    We extensively discussed the love relationships. It has a lot to do with 'will' - Gerald and Gundrun maintain their self will, but their relationship is destructive because of this; whereas, Birkin and Ursula are able to abandon the self will and meet on a different level of intimacy, more equal and more like two stars across from each other suspended in eternal space. Lawrence's perfect comparison is the idea of a flower having no will of it's own and therefore, is whole and happy in it's own being. Birkin describes this in one scene to Ursula...I believe they are by the lake. It's about midway through the novel. This is my favorite novel, by the way. I have read Lawrence's books extensively and a few biographies, as well. Enjoy your reading and welcome to the forum.

    PS: the link did work and I realise that is 21 pages of extensive discussion and analysis; but, I think you could skim through some and get some valuable insight into the book. Hope that helps you.
    Last edited by Janine; 11-12-2009 at 07:40 PM.
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    sound of music soundofmusic's Avatar
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    I haven't read the book in years; but I was more impressed by the homosexual overtones of the book. It always seemed to me that the women were "extras" in a story entirely involved with two men trying to avoid their homosexual nature.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Yes Nice Hair, you are on the right track. Gundrun and Gerald do have a destructive relatyionship and that is the key to the novel. In contra distinction, Birkin and Ursula's reltionship is positive relationship, and if you'll look through the thread Janine provided you'll find why the relationships are what they are and what Lawrence is trying to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundofmusic View Post
    I haven't read the book in years; but I was more impressed by the homosexual overtones of the book. It always seemed to me that the women were "extras" in a story entirely involved with two men trying to avoid their homosexual nature.
    No I wouldn't go that far. There is a secondary homo-erotic sub theme, but that is not the central part of the novel. The male/female relationships are the key to the novel. How the homo-erotic sub-theme amplifies the main theme has been controversial between critics.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    No I wouldn't go that far. There is a secondary homo-erotic sub theme, but that is not the central part of the novel. The male/female relationships are the key to the novel. How the homo-erotic sub-theme amplifies the main theme has been controversial between critics.
    hahaha...Virgil, I knew you would show up. I am not sure I explained the flower will principle, but at least I tried. You always explain it much better than I do! Agreed that the 'homo-erotic' aspect of the novel is merely secondary to the love between the two couples. Also, the background of the story is the war and sets the tone of the novel, even though it's a stays in the background. In many respects harmony and discord are also part of the novel; power especially is explored, as Gerald and Gundrun are caught in a doomed relationship, because both want power over each other.
    "It's so mysterious, the land of tears."

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

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    sound of music soundofmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    No I wouldn't go that far. There is a secondary homo-erotic sub theme, but that is not the central part of the novel. The male/female relationships are the key to the novel. How the homo-erotic sub-theme amplifies the main theme has been controversial between critics.
    As Janine stated, you do explain this marvelously. Perhaps I just found the mens relationship more dramatic and therefore, more appealing.

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    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    I have read this book long ago, and Lawrence has too many sexual overtones or perversions in his book, for he thru his embellished style had masked them strikingly and few can then focus on the stink of perversion when swayed by quality of the book and elegant literary style

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    hahaha...Virgil, I knew you would show up. I am not sure I explained the flower will principle, but at least I tried. You always explain it much better than I do! Agreed that the 'homo-erotic' aspect of the novel is merely secondary to the love between the two couples. Also, the background of the story is the war and sets the tone of the novel, even though it's a stays in the background. In many respects harmony and discord are also part of the novel; power especially is explored, as Gerald and Gundrun are caught in a doomed relationship, because both want power over each other.
    You did fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundofmusic View Post
    As Janine stated, you do explain this marvelously. Perhaps I just found the mens relationship more dramatic and therefore, more appealing.
    Thanks.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Ah! How wonderful you all are for taking interest!
    I'll have a browse over the thread you mentioned, it does sound like it will be of great help to my work. I'm glad that I'm on the right track with my opinion on the destructive qualities that lie within Gudrun and Gerald and how it's these qualities that ultimately kill Gerald. I also thought that the setting of his death was quite symbolic also of his mechanical nature: the cold, dominating mountains in comparison to his tiny figure (however could one argue that this is nature finally taking control of Gerald?). Also this idea of snow casting over nature, and whislt I was reading the last part of the book I felt as if Lawrence was using the snow symbolically as a way of humanities subconcious being supressed by human nature and its destructive power (I suppose that's not to do with the sexual relationships, but I simply adore this book and am the only one in my group who does! I haven't anyone to discuss my opinion with!).

    I'm comparing the sexual relationships with the s.r in the Color Purple, it's a bit of a challenge for me as I am finding that I could simply write my whole essay on Women in Love, and so far I haven't found as much comparison and difference within Color Purple.

    Again, thank you so much.

  10. #10
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundofmusic View Post
    As Janine stated, you do explain this marvelously. Perhaps I just found the mens relationship more dramatic and therefore, more appealing.
    Lawrence seems to have a thing for miners.

    It's strange because the men both seem to be straight until that infamous scene. It's more like 'Men in Love'

  11. #11
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    Lawrence seems to have a thing for miners.

    It's strange because the men both seem to be straight until that infamous scene. It's more like 'Men in Love'
    People have been confused with Lawrence's homo-erotic motifs, including me. Frankly I don't think Lawrence really understood homosexuality as we understand it today.

    Lawrence had a thing for minors because his father was a coal minor and he lived and grew up in a coal mining town. If he had been healthy as a child he would probably have been a minor himself.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    People have been confused with Lawrence's homo-erotic motifs, including me. Frankly I don't think Lawrence really understood homosexuality as we understand it today.

    Lawrence had a thing for minors because his father was a coal minor and he lived and grew up in a coal mining town. If he had been healthy as a child he would probably have been a minor himself.
    I hope you mean 'miner', lol. And as a child, he would have been a minor.

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    Registered User totoro's Avatar
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    I always thought it was the other way around personally. Ursula and Birkin were always fighting about passion vs. being complete - and then one of them would say the wrong thing and the other would storm off. It got really frustrating. Gerald and Gurdrun were always just...there. They didn't really seem to fight or argue half as much as the other two, but then maybe that's what made them the destructive of the two, they had no chemistry.

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