Lady Chatterley's Lover

by: D.H. Lawrence

Section II: Chapters 4-6

To a certain extent, then, Dukes serves as Lawrence's mouthpiece. Although ultimately he is exemplary of the effete intellectual, he voices the ideas upon which Lawrence would like to see society reconstruct itself. In this sense, Dukes fails as a novelistic character. He is a spokesman, not a man in his own right. At the beginning of chapter six, for instance, it is nearly impossible to take Dukes seriously as a man speaking his own thoughts and emotions. His words coincide too nearly with the general moral of the story: physical love has become incompatible with intellectual connection, and men and women lack allure, "glamour," to one another. It is one of the great failings of Lady Chatterley's Lover that the characters, on occasion, become subordinate to the social purpose of the novel. As the poet Archibald MacLeish writes in his introduction to the Modern Library version of the novel: "The characters are sometimes symbols rather than human beings and the propaganda purpose occasionally shows through."

The camera lens of the novel quickly changes focus. Immediately after Tommy Dukes' admission that he is unable to reconcile his theories on sensuality with his personal inability to feel sexual attraction, we are given a scene with Clifford and Connie in the woods. The contrast is striking. We are transported from the intellectual emptiness inside Wragby to the last remnants of an unspoiled, pastoral England. Mellors first comes into view in this setting, and we are told that he was dressed in "the old style." A gamekeeper familiar with the woods, he is a representative of wild England, and seems utterly incompatible with the bloodless intellectuals who congregate at Wragby.

Mellors' internal warmth, his sensuality, is inseparable from his connection to the forest, to old England. His ability to relate to Connie as a woman, then, cannot be distinguished from his ability to relate to the untamed land. By extension, it can be noted that the empty reliance on the mind and neglect of the body that characterizes Wragby, and that proves destructive to Connie's marriage, is the same illness that Lawrence believes afflicts the English countryside, manifesting itself in the soulless mining enterprises. Lady Chatterley's Lover observes that it is one pandemic illness that afflicts all of society.