Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Although D. H. Lawrence was an intelligent man with a solid grasp of European cultural history, he admired the instinctual wisdom of unlettered men who lived unreflective and untroubled lives in close contact with the natural world. “The Blind Man” is an exploration of two forms of male behavior, which represented for Lawrence the extreme tendencies of masculine identity. The essential difference between the men is in their response to the woman they both cherish. Without directly supporting either man’s position completely, it is obvious that Lawrence is much more sympathetic to Maurice but that he does not consider Maurice a complete or fully formed individual, or condemn Reid as one without any estimable qualities.

Maurice is the embodiment of Lawrence’s lifelong love for the features of the English countryside, of his belief in the possibilities of illumination through sexual intimacy, and of his fascination with a special kind of brotherhood among men. Maurice’s strong contact with the earth gives him an elemental strength anchored in something fundamental, and his intelligence and oversensitive demeanor are part of his blood prescience, a form of insight not readily appreciated by conventional society. His loss of vision, however, is indicative of Lawrence’s concern about a total reliance on “blood contact with the substantial world” and the devastating term “cancelled” shows both Lawrence’s fear that such a man has no place in...

(The entire section is 524 words.)