Monday, April 18, 2011

Lady Chatterley's Lover - DH Lawrence

lady chatterley's lover
dh lawrence
c. 1928
324 pages (154 pages read)
stopped reading 4/10/2011

read for: back to the classics challenge, page to screen challenge, penguin classics, 1001 books

*may contain spoilers*

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.

Only months after marrying Connie, Clifford Chatterley is wounded in the trenches of World War I. Though at first feeling pride in her duty to her husband, now paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, Connie soon finds herself feeling stuck in a loveless marriage and a meaningless life. As Clifford pulls away from his wife, becoming more involved with his new housekeeper and his writing, Connie searches for her own fulfillment in the form of a relationship with her husband's gamekeeper.

I'm not really sure if she ever find fulfillment since I didn't finish it. Even though I have feelings of failure whenever I put down a book, I'm trying to get myself to quit books I'm really not enjoying so I'm not just dragging my feet and can move on to something more enjoyable.

Two things that made me put down the book...First, I really couldn't get behind the relationship between Lady C and the gamekeeper. It seemed really forced. Neither of them seemed to provide any reason for any sort of attraction or affection for the other, and I felt their relationship began very bizarrely, based more on convenience or lack of any other option. Maybe I'm wrong and an understanding of their motives for entering into such a relationship becomes more apparent if I keep reading, but I was put off by their initial love scene. This was a time of sexual and social revolution for women and in England especially, it was quite explosive. So I would have expected Lady C to be less passive in the process.

Second, I have trouble at times when novels are neither plot nor character driven, but are instead given over to the author's musings on a specific philosophical or social issue (in this case female sexuality). Some musing is fine, but I start to tune out significantly when ruminations so greatly take the place of active narration. I like action. To me, that's important, and I feel it can replace and enhance too much musing and can often better show (as opposed to tell) an author's thoughts on whatever issue it is (s)he's musing over. Wilkie Collins is a good example of this (and the first that popped into my head), using No Name as a commentary on the absurdity of inheritance laws.

Last of all, I discovered this is one of those texts where I'm much more interested in its history and influence than actually reading it. The obscenity trial in England in the 60s is pretty interesting.


As I read this in part for the Page to Screen Challenge, check back later for my review of the 1992 miniseries.


Sarah Reads Too Much said...

Hey, you got yourself about a third of the way through it - I'd say that is plenty of time to decide if it is worth it to you to finish or not. I haven't read this (yet), but I can see in your explanation why you wouldn't want to continue it. Hopefully your next book is more fulfilling!

Veronica said...

Actually, Sarah, after putting this one down I read the next in only two days! So I guess it was a good idea to let it go. It's always hard for me, though.

Susan (Reading World) said...

That seems to be two thumbs down for this book. I vaguely remember trying to read it in college and not getting very far. I don't think I'll try again.