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Discuss a critical appreciation of Lawrence's poem, "Money Madness."

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sumeesha | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 10, 2011 at 10:26 PM via web

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Discuss a critical appreciation of Lawrence's poem, "Money Madness."

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM (Answer #1)

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Lawrence's poem speaks to the condition of how wealth inverts control.  Wealth and money is such a seductive force in Lawrence's poem that we are not in control of it, but rather it is in control of us.  The poem itself is highly Romantic in nature, especially in how it seeks to reject something that is so valued by others and something upon which primacy in society is placed.  From a criticism standpoint, this is consistent with Lawrence's poetry, in general.  His own statement about his poetry is that it served to be seen as an "autobiography."  This is certainly the case in "Money Madness," which presents a personalized view of the horror of money.  Lawrence's own background from a working class mining family that he grew to detest for the condition in which it placed his family, one can sense an antipathy towards money and the materialist fetishes caused by it.  When Lawrence says that money makes us "quall," one can see his own background as a child emerge in such a line.  From a criticism point of view, the poem represents Lawrence's own vision of what he wishes his poetry to be seen as in terms of a "new heaven and earth."  This can be seen in the poem in the closing lines of the poem:

We must regain our sanity about money
before we start killing one another about it.
It's one thing or the other.

Almost coming across as a demand to change what is into what should be, Lawrence's poem fits the basic template of how he both envisioned his poetry from a critical point of view and how he saw what the purpose of his poetry to be.

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