The Well of Loneliness

by Radclyffe Hall

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 364

Here are some important quotes from The Well of Loneliness.

Too late, too late, your love gave me life. Here am I the creature you made through your loving; by your passion you created the thing that I am. Who are you to deny me the right to love? But for you I need never have known existence.

In the above passage, Stephen implores her mother, Lady Anna, to accept who she is, despite her homosexuality. However, even after this impassioned plea, Lady Anna remains distant and cold throughout her life.

Oh, Stephen, Stephen, get used to the world—it's a horrible place full of horrible people, but it's all there is, and we live in it, don't we? So we've just got to do as the world does, my Stephen.

These words are spoken by Angela Crossby, a married woman with whom Stephen falls in love as a young woman. Here, Angela tries to explain to Stephen why they can never be together.

Then Stephen must tell her the cruel truth, she must say: "I am one of those whom God marked on the forehead. Like Cain, I am marked and blemished. If you come to me, Mary, the world will abhor you, will persecute you, will call you unclean. Our love may be faithful even unto death and beyond—yet the world will call it unclean."

The above quote is important because it is the moment that illustrates how Stephen both wants Mary desperately and knows that if Mary joins into a relationship with her, her life will be much more difficult. Although Mary and Stephen do find happiness for a while, eventually Stephen will push her away so that Mary may live an easier life.

For the sooner the world came to realize that fine brains very frequently went with inversion, the sooner it would have to withdraw its ban, and the sooner would cease this persecution. Persecution was always a hideous thing, breeding hideous thoughts—and such thoughts were dangerous.

This passage is from a series of conversations and encounters between Stephen and her friend Valerié that serve to explicate how wrong the world is in its thinking about homosexuality.

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