Women in love; D H Lawrence







  • PLOT






The anti-academics of the 1960's used D.H. Lawrence like a standard of sexual revolution. However, his personality was so specific English, insular and countrified that anybody as Lawrence is be able to represent the individualist values and the tradition of social and cultural radicalism that is one of the more typical creations of the Puritanism.

Women in love is the novel of the crisis of the liberal ideology. It has been built over a binary system of oppositions never resolved, it reflects the contradictory and reversal side of the author, who began to write this novel inside of an atmosphere of poverty and jealous, that could explain the apocalyptic tone of the novel.


David Herbert Lawrence was born into a miner's family in Eastwood, Nottingamshire, in 1885, the fourth of five children, George (1876), William (1878), Emily Una (1882), David Herbert and Lettice Ada (1887). He attended Beauvale Board School and Nottingham High School, and trained as elementary schoolteacher at Nottingham University College. He taught in Croydon from 1908. His first novel, The white Peacock, was published in 1911, just a few weeks after the death of his mother to whom he had been extraordinary closed. His career as a schoolteacher was ended by serious illness at the end of 1911.

In 1912 Lawrence went to Germany with Frieda Weekley, they were married on their return to England in 1914. He had published Sons and lovers in 1913; but The rainbow, completed in 1915 was suppressed, and for three years he could not find a publisher for Women in Love, completed in 1917.

After the war Lawrence lived abroad, and sought a more fulfilling mode of life than he had so far experienced. With Frieda, he lived in Sicily, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Mexico and Mexico. They returned to Europe in 1925. His last novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, was published in 1928 but was banned in England and America. In 1930 he died in Vence, in the south of France, at the age of forty-four.

Lawrence's life may have been short, but he lived it intensely. He also produced an amazing body of work: novel, stories, poems, plays, essays, travel books, translations, paintings, and letters (over five thousand of which survive). After his death Frieda wrote, “What he had seen and felt and known he gave in his writing to his fellow men, the splendour of living, the hope of more and more life... a heroic and immeasurable gift.”


This novel was written in its first form in the Tyrol in 1913. It was altogether re-written and finished in Cornwall in 1917. So that it is a novel which took its final shape in the midst of the period of war though it does not concern the war itself. I think the bitterness of the war may be taken for granted in the characters.

The plot is based on relationships between men and women, these relationships affect the daily life; the incapacity of expressing the feelings on the right moment is a constant trouble, on the same way that the necessity of being affirmated by a corresponded love.

The four central characters, The Brangwen Sisters and their partenairs debate theirselves between love and hate; between sexual desire and doubt... The importance of sex is reflected in the novel through the conception of a full sexual relationship as an expression of pure love. It is a constant too the idea of that the man has to get rid of material world and returning to the nature to feel plenty of oneself.

The characters are completely incapable of control their lives, to sum up; when the love comes in by the door, the reason comes out by the window.

It can be said that some of the characters are based on real people; for example, Lawrence's opinion is reflected in many of the dialogues of the character Rupert Birkin.

“... This novel pretends only to be a record of the writer's own desire, aspirations, and struggles: in a word, a record of the profoundest experiences in the self. Nothing that comes from the deep, passional soul is bad, or can be bad. So there is no apologise to tender, unless to the soul itself, if it should have been belied.”

D.H. Lawrence

Hermitage, 12 September, 1919.



She is the oldest of the Brangwen sisters. Her character is serious, responsible, a few shy and respectful. His relationship with her father and sister is good but some times they have disputes. She is a schoolteacher and she likes very much her job. She has an inferiority complex and needs to be reaffirmed in a continual way.

Her relationship with Rupert Birkin is passionate but stormy; they have total mental understanding, and form a perfect couple.


Gudrun is the youngest of the two sisters, she has more opening character, is more extroverted and prefers the bohemian life because she is an artist, she travels always she can and loves live abroad. She is a schoolteacher like her sister but she doesn't work very much, because she lives from her painting.

Her relationship with Gerald Crich is only a pastime to her.


It is a complex character, he has a complicated mind, in one hand he is very sensitive but in the other hand he can be very cruel. He longs for knowing women in a way so spiritual that is very difficult to him express his feelings. He refuse the conventional things and should like that world were habited by nature rather that human beings.

This character is the alter ego of DH Lawrence; many of the speech expressed in the novel reflected the main opinions of the author.


He is the primogenitor of The Crich; his character is opening and optimist. He manages the business of his father but in a modern way, more progressive, he has remodelled the factory to make it better.

He posses the capacity of organization for his business but not for his life, his relationship with Gudrun is very stormy and it will have a disastrous ended to him.


She is a high-class lady and is hopelessly devoted to Rupert Birkin but he doesn't love her. She likes organizing the life of whoever rounded her and she loves stay over people that she believes is inferior of her.


He is a strange person, intelligent and aficionado to painting and sculpture. He will conquest Gudrun and will be one of the elements of the separation between Gerald and Gudrun.


Today, we can't establish a real assent about D.H. Lawrence's personality and work; however, we can see the defensive and a little bit uncomfortable tone with all critics contemplates his own fiction. If we could find any common theme in all his work, it could be the contradiction and the antagonism.

These perceptions, the contradiction and the antagonism are always radicals and insuperable, but, in fact, from these ones D.H. Lawrence has created a great work, this contradiction determines his life, in any moment that we want to analyse; this situation of contradiction starts in a familiar root specially conflictive, where the antagonism of a social classes controversy is actually represented by a fight between a proletarian father and a schoolteacher mother; all this feelings create a series of serious psychological conflicts; The Lawrence-man, who always has have an ambiguous relationship with women and the Lawrence-artist, who makes of the duality his form of perceive the world.

The importance of the “Midlands culture” interpreting it as a life model can't be sub-esteemed in the conformation of D.H. Lawrence's personality, it determines the parameters from where he perceives the world and the co-ordinates from where he constitutes his artist vocation; also it constitutes the generator essence of his more convincing work, as well as in novels, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love and relates as in his essayist work, where his worry for the traditional Britain's ill soul is a growth of the idea of tension in the same conception of development of the Midlands that Lawrence lived since his childhood, and it compounds one of his more genuine projects.

Lawrence's imagination was often kindled by actual places, people and events, indeed he may seem less to invent than to re-create a very recognizable world, through which wells the unknown, until imagined and transformed. Women in Love begins as an accurately regional novel; Lawrence goes further in using identifiable people and their doings for fictive purposes. This novel is not, however, a roman à clef whose import depends on identifying its characters, not are they essentially portraits. Lawrence expressed some (but not all) of his feelings about the originals, and some truths of their characters, and was not without malice. And yet, so effectively do Hermione and the Pussum fulfil their fictive purpose, that if Lawrence had tried to invent, he could hardly have improved on them. He may also have felt that painting from the life helped authenticate his vision.

Beldover is drawn in detail from Lawrence's birthplace, Eastwood, and its surroundings, for example we can see: the “main road” is the Nottingham road; The Brangwen's house in Somerset Drive is based on the house of DHL's friends Sallie and William Hopkin in Devonshire Drive; The “big mill-house” where Birkin goes to live is a re-creation of Felley Mill (now demolished); and to conclude, he modelled Shortlands on Lamb Close House, built 1797-1829, the home of Thomas Barber.

“... In point of style, fault is often found with the continual, slightly, modified repetition. The only answer is that it is natural to the author: and that every natural crisis in emotion or passion or understanding comes from this pulsing, frictional to-and-fro which works up to culmination.”

D.H. Lawrence


I like this story, in general, but I've found it not much attractive, and slow to read.

To start, and to my understanding, I think that the plot is a little bit interesting and the development of it is good. In one hand, the relationship between men and women are treated with a few hopeless, in the other the author shows a feeling of optimist about the result of them.

The characters are well drawing, with their aspirations, dreams and doubts, for example, I think that the character of Ursula shows all these, she is during all story doubting about her feelings for Rupert, and when she acts like she knows, she needs to be reaffirmed in them.

About the character of Gudrun, I think is very variable, she plays with Gerald causing him a kind of pain she is not capable of understand. To the end of the novel she resembles feel something to him but doesn't matter to her, she doesn't doubt in abandon him for another man. I believe in fact, that she doesn't recognize what she wants.

Changing of content, the story said to me that the relationship between men and woman are always complicated, and, many times, we are who complicate them. We never appreciate what we have and only become conscious when we lost it. However sometimes it goes well too.

To summarise, I like this story, but I believe that the end is disconcerting and a little bit sad.


  • Lawrence, D.H. “Women in Love” Penguin Plays 1987.

  • Lawrence, D. H. “Mujeres Enamoradas” Ediciones Cátedra, 1988. Traducción de Maria Lozano.

  • Lawrence, D.H. “England, my England and Other Stories” Londres, 1924

  • Enciclopedia interactiva Planeta Agostini.

  • AKAL. Historia de la Literatura. Volumen sexto.

Enviado por:Teresa López
Idioma: inglés
País: España

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