Lady Chatterley's Lover Lady Chatterley’s Lover - Essay

D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The three main characters represent strikingly different attitudes toward love. Clifford Chatterley has been horribly wounded in World War I, paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. Even before the war he was repressed, but the war dramatically turns him into an obvious symbol of what repels Lawrence in modern life: the cold and dry life of the mind. As a captain of industry and an authoritarian technologist, Clifford ironically becomes an ally of the very forces that crippled him.

Connie Chatterley is repressed in a much more subtle way. She grows up in the household of elegantly aesthetic and casually radical parents, but her thoroughly modern independence is, according to Lawrence, superficial and evasive. Connie is the intellectual equal of the men around her, and she is liberated enough to indulge in various sexual affairs, but she always withholds rather than gives herself, and this leaves her free but perpetually unsatisfied.

Mellors, the gamekeeper on the estate, is the vital center of the novel. Although not without flaws, he is the exact opposite of his nominal master, Clifford, and the true lover and teacher of Connie. Mellors is passionate but marvelously self-controlled, at home with natural processes of birth and growth, and capable of great tenderness as well as fearless honesty. Through lovemaking with Mellors, described in explicit and intimate detail, Connie becomes vulnerable but also radiantly sensitive...

(The entire section is 531 words.)