How does Lawrence make the three themes of Lady Chatterley's Lover, alienation, sexuality and love, interact with each other?  What changes does Connie go through in the novel?

1 Answer | Add Yours

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence is an exploration of what once was a taboo subject in literature, that of female sexual desire. Lawrence's take on alienation is less based on the concept of work and more on that of sexuality than the traditional Marxist formulation, but retains the focus on class stratification as a source of alienation.

In Marx, alienation begins with the notion of capitalism, in which the worker no longer controls the conditions of his work, and thus lacks agency. As an example, the individual stonemason crafting the gargoyle of a Gothic cathedral would see the production of the gargoyle from start to finish, and make his own aesthetic or creative choices, within some basic constraints of size and material. The modern worker, under capitalism, might just operate a machine that produces a piece of a building, with no choices about or even interaction with the finished product. While the medieval worker could take pride in seeing his gargoyle on a great cathedral, the worker under capitalism has no real connection to the finished product, but just takes home a paycheck. In Lawrence, the role of the wife in aristocratic society is similarly alienated, as she is in many ways just a machine for producing babies and filling a social position, with little in the way of individual agency, and no real ownership of her own sexuality.

Connie's character evolves over the course of the novel, from one lacking in agency to one who awakens to her own nature, and develops self-determination, as she reclaims her own sexual power in the relationship with the lower-class Mellors. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,988 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question