Some of Lawrence’s topics, including son-mother relationships,
women-women relationships, and of course men-women relationships,
seem to beg for either a psychological approach or a feminist
approach--or both--to understand how he treats these issues.
Sometimes these critical approaches overlap. As for feminist
criticism, in The Second Sex Simone de Beauvoir argues
that Lawrence exemplifies patriarchal thought and practice
in his claim that masculinity is by its nature primary (active,
creative, and intellectual), while femininity by its nature is
secondary (passive, earthy, and emotional). Another feminist
critic, Kate Millet, argues in Sexual Politics that
Lawrence's work is motivated by the desire to
prevent women from entering man's world of intellect and action,
thus depicting the independent woman as basically unnatural. In so
far as Millet understands this desire asinsecurity and his fear of
women (which Freud would label as “castration anxiety”), to
which(according to Millet) Lawrence responds with an attack on
women aimed at keeping them under men's control, we can see the
psychological dimensions toMillet's essentially feminist approach.
Both de Beauvoir and Millet wrote this criticism on Lawrence in the
early 1970's, when feminism was very sensitive to the depiction of
women in a work of literature.