Summary (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
The dynamic marriage relationship between Richard Lovat Somers and his wife, Harriet, is the central concern of this novel. As with all the important marriages in the novels of D. H. Lawrence, it is a constantly changing relationship that alternates between being nourishing and life-giving to each individual, on the one hand, and being destructive and emotionally suffocating on the other. As is also typical of Lawrence, the relationship is characterized by a great intensity. At times, that emotional and spiritual intensity completely engulfs the individual selves of the characters, and they achieve mythic proportions.
Richard Somers is an English writer who has come to Australia to escape what he believes is the worn-out, spiritually restricting culture of Europe. The novel opens with the arrival of Richard and Harriet by boat from India, and it closes with their departure for the United States several months later; in that interval, Richard and Harriet experience the unique social and physical landscape of the Australian continent, an experience which changes them forever.
The novel’s dramatic action begins with Richard and Harriet becoming acquainted with their neighbors, Jack and Victoria Callcott. The couples are curious about each other. Victoria is fascinated by Harriet, whom she views as a European lady, a person of sophistication and worldly knowledge. Harriet, in turn, responds to Victoria’s open friendliness, finding in her a...
(The entire section is 1295 words.)
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