November 24th, 2005

Totes Me!

DH Lawrence: Connections

I'm seeing a lot of talk about connection within this novel. Let me see if I can articulate myself - it seems to be my biggest problem with this course.

It appears that in that age that Lawrence has set his society ruling class in, lots of intellectuals are somewhat nostalgic for a kind of connection on some level - hints being that it's mostly mental (intellectual) and that sex is a distraction to it (hence the discussion on artificial baby-making).

My question being that what kind of connection really are they looking for and why? Why is it important to "reconnect" or to "connect" anyway? It seems that the individual ego within the novel has an inner yearning for something else, especially with the idea of "everything with its place and time". Clifford's fatalism - "functions of the aristocracy" - seems to indicate a kind of connection between ruling class and working class, even if it is really seperate and derogatory towards the working class. The aristocracy have their own function to fulfil as well, in a sense they are also responsible towards the working class just as the working class is responsible to work for the ruling class when paid to do so. It's a system of feudalism? Although my understanding of feudalism has always seemed to be that the landowners worked the working class (serfs) and showed very little responsibility towards the serfs.

So, then, it leads right back into the idea: what is the connection? Going back to the intellectual discussions, the connection seems to be all mental, and this is problematic because each one of those intellectuals seem to have their own individuality - differences - and disagreements that differentiate themselves from each other. How then is the idea of (re)connection supposed to reconcile with the seperateness that each person feels?

Admittedly I'm only up to the middle of the novel, right after Mellors has had his rant about the "self", and it seems he wishes to break down the boundaries between man and woman within the context of sex, that the two participants within the act should not be seperate in finding the pleasure - should not "stand apart" as Connie's "Queer female mind" does the first time she has sex with Mellors. What does Mellors want to connect with? It seems to be the same kind of connection that Connie finds through her orgasm - the connection to the cosmos, something primordial and something quite incommunicable within the context of civilization.

This leads to the next problem: being that the reader is constantly getting Connie's point of view, but not Mellors'. When Mellors rants about the "self" and the selfishness of the individual, what exactly is he ranting against? I don't really see how he comes in with any talk of connection (there is a line and I will have to list down all the quotes I've found interesting later on). His hatred seems to be directed toward the idea of the woman being an active agent of her own pleasure - what does this have to do with the reconnection that Connie finds to the cosmos and why aren't we getting Mellors' side of the story? I presume that he does also reconnect to the cosmos, and he is more "peaceful" and therefore doesn't speak / think as much about it as Connie does. For him, it seems that investigation of this mystery of the reconnection is not important, only that Man DOES reconnect, hence the lack of discussion from him on this subject when other intellectuals seem to have touched on it once or twice.

Mellors maintains that this mystery is important, and by the end of the novel, it appears that the mystery is between man and woman, so he clings on to his love for Connie even while he lives apart for her, waiting for her to join him. Doesn't say what this mystery is anyway, but knows it's there, that the idea of connection between himself and Connie, in the tenderness they find between each other which translates into love that breaks the boundaries of class, is the thing which helps him move on and eventually motivate him towards finding fresh fields and a new life for himself.

Hmmmm. Is this enough to write an 8-page paper on?