Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Recovery from Trauma
Maurice is recovering from his traumatic experiences in World War I, in which an injury to his eyes left him blind. Lawrence shows how the process of learning to adapt and navigate his everyday experiences includes, but also goes beyond, his individual physical adjustments. For both Maurice and Isabel, major adjustments are required: she must take a greater role in caring for him and for their farm, and he must allow himself to accept his dependent status. By the time the story’s action occurs, the couple has made significant progress with these adjustments and may be closer, in some ways, than they had previously felt. This suggests that although trauma is never desirable, working through it can bring people closer together. By overcoming trauma, people learn new things about themselves and the world, giving them a new perspective on the people and places around them.
Maurice and Isabel enjoy a special intimacy that goes beyond their sexual relationship and their affection for each other. They are a united team, set apart from other people. Lawrence believed strongly in this type of unity, especially between men and women. In contrast, Isabel’s relationship with Bertie is primarily intellectual and almost transcends gender. Maurice tries to draw Bertie into a related type of intimacy, through physical contact with his damaged face, but the dominance of intellect over senses blocks Bertie’s appreciation of the gesture.
Connection with the Land
Isabel’s and Maurice’s occupation as farmers is more than just a job. In joining Maurice in this kind of work, Isabel has connected herself to the earthly, an influential aspect of Maurice's character. Even more important, she has gained a fundamental understanding of being literally grounded, by working the soil, and figuratively stabilized through this connection with the earth and with a man for whom that identification is central.