Feminine Mystique – Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence


“The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read” ~Oscar Wilde~

Here is the maestro of English literature who was often subjected to ordeal of the highest order. Dismal social situation, tragic life situation, social ostracization due to the well accepted thoughts and morals deep routed in Puritanism etc.. never had a negative impact on his acumen. He chooses to react through the most powerful medium –“literature”! Let me invite all literature lovers to pay our obeisance to D H Lawrence.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover can easily be labeled as pornographic and that is what has been told to the whole generation. Graphical narration of love making is perhaps the only dimension of the novel that dominated the discussion over a period of time which is nothing but an affront to the genius who authored the novel. Let us try to do away with our very instinct to operate in the periphery and try to skin deep to relish the beauty of classic.


Young lady is married and the couple (Constance Reid a.k.a Lady Chatterly & Clifford Chatterley) belong to the upper crest of the society. The man got paralyzed waist down post his service in first world war and became impotent. Lady Chatterley, who is frustrated with her life found solace in their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors.

This could be the worst possible manner to summarize the plot that may categorize the novel to the genre of Mills & Boons. But, in reality – the craftsmanship of DHL is all about placing supreme importance of intricacies of life through fantabulous narration. Also, you will see a unique style where in preeminence of plot will give way to far sighted philosophical and socio cultural analysis.

Genesis & evolution

The novel is written in 1920s where labor unrest, imperialism, class conflict etc. defined the social life of British. Enough of essays and novels were written regarding the macro aspects of this tumultuous phase of history. In this novel, DHL is inviting our attention to three central characters who are having their own individualistic experiences, reaction and view point as a social animal.

The dialogue between Lady Chatterley and her husband and their game keeper is the commentary of the social and political situation of Britain.

Ms. Reid (Maiden name of Lady Chatterley) is born and brought up in a bourgeoisie family where is she is conditioned to choose her acquaintances. She has to take care of the compatibility of class which is of utmost importance. Also, the popularly accepted fad is to give prominence to “so called” intelligent associations over any kind of gut level interaction.

This is the genesis of the life of a lady who is conditioned in a typical controlled fashion. The metamorphic change in her life post marriage is all about the change in her outlook triggered by exigencies. The choice was to keep the socially accepted status and take care of handicapped husband. But, there she chose to have the Bohemian path. Something which could be radically considered as “body over mind”

A bit more

In short, this novel is all about the exodus of a lady from the world driven by snobbish aristocrats and to connect to primordial gut level. This has been written in an era where gut level thought process is considered to be taboo and hence the novel was criticized by the larger public. Also, this is not glorifying the act of any characters but simply presenting life as it is and leaving the interpretation to the reader.

It has been concluded by one the major critic that this novel is “formally and thematically conservative, but methodologically radical”. This paradox defines the greatness of the novel. It is no way different from the Victorian stylistic narration but yet confidently deviates from the fetter of literary freedom and explores the avenues of radical thought process. No wonder, this irritated puritans and conservative.

After all, life is not worth living if one stick to rules and regulations. Hence, we have such classics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *