It’s personal…

September 5, 2010

I was excited about reading D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow because I knew I enjoyed his writing, and one of my all-time favourite teachers has said that it’s one of the best works ever written on human relationships, which so often seem to fall flat, or fall short of ringing entirely true,  in literature. I was going to talk about it all the time with G., and post every few chapters, really detailed analyses of the fantastic writing.

And the book was everything I’d been expecting, and more. Stylistically, the repetition Lawrence uses (oh so often) really emphasizes the emotional lives depicted in the novel, and I was often feeling the same heights of joy or pangs of sorrow, even of the least sympathetic characters. They’re just so real, and I know that they’re also depicted somewhat melodramatically, but their outward lives really aren’t. The drama is internal, as it is for all of us. Each of us as the hero or villain (or both) of our own lives.

But I hit the snag that I hit with Sons and Lovers, too. These books mean so much that they’re actually difficult to talk about. I would tell anyone, when I read it, about how much I loved Sons and Lovers, but I would be reticent to recommend it to anyone, even those that I’m closest to, just because of how intensely personal an experience it was to read.

I’m off to read what my teacher had to say about The Rainbow, now that I’ve finally read it. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to talk about it, myself.

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G’s Rainbow

August 8, 2010

I thought I posted this last week, but apparently didn’t. I’m further along in the book, and loving it, but no closer to understanding it. I think I need to talk it out in person.

My friend G. and I have decided that, since we were both interested in reading D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, we would read it together, posting (at least, since they’re so long and dense) every 4 chapters. I’m in the midst of the 4th chapter right now, and remembering how much I loved Lawrence in school and wondering why I didn’t read more (just Sons and Lovers, and a couple short things). Probably because it’s so dense. Hard work, but it feels so good.

G. says that he’s drawn to the pastoral elements of the text: all the talk of nature. I find that most of my notes from my first attempt at reading it are about Lawrence’s writing about relationships. He just really, really captured the poetic essence of human relations.

But there was a passage that I questioned before, and I’m still not sure about it:

“…But so she lived, within a potent, sensuous belief that included her family and contained her destiny.

To this she had reduced her husband. He existed with her entirely indifferent to the general values of the world. Her very ways, the very mark of her eyebrows were symbols and indication to him. There, on the farm with her, he lived through a mystery of life and death and creation, strange, profound ecstasies and incommunicable satisfactions, of which the rest of the world knew nothing; which made the pair of them apart and respected in the English village…”

Reduced? I mean, I get it if it means heightened, made essential. But for someone who’s so precise with his diction…I’m just still thinking on that word, that’s all I’m saying.