Lyrical Elements of Lawrence Style in The Rainbow

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Lyrical Intensity.

      Bonamy Dobree feels that the novels of D.H. Lawrence must be judged by poetic standards. "He is primarily a poet, it is as a poet that he must not only be judged, but also tasted and enjoyed.” Though Lawrence had won great recognition as a novelist and his greatness as a novelist cannot quite be questioned. But it has also been accepted that he was gifted with the genius of a poet .....a lyrical poet. J.W. Beach also expresses his ideas saying that Lawrence is essentially as lyrical and romantic as Meredith and Hardy. Passions and emotions are a predominant feature of his novels. In fact, he himself says that he used the novel form to reveal the most secret places of life, "The passional secret places of life." Like those of Hardy and Conrad, Lawrence's descriptions of nature are as immediate and exquisite.

      Lawrence in the characters in his novels is different from other novelists. He is interested in the real thing which he feels is the 'psyche' or the soul. He does not trouble himself with the external shape but works hard at the "shimmeriness of life." He also indulges in the evershifting and changing moods and attitudes that are characteristic of human relationships. Moreover, his feelings have an intensity and urgency and like a true lyrical poet, he is personally involved in his experience. Thus, marked with the characteristic overwhelming styles, spontaneity and directness of expression, his style can undoubtedly be described as lyrical.

Poetic Description of Nature.

      The mystery of the life-force and cosmic will which is at work somewhere deep down in the sub-conscious can only be felt 'emotionally' on intuitively. Lawrence expresses this in a rich and poetic language. Lawrence while describing the landscape of the midlands or the cool-pits near the Bestwood village seems to realize them emotionally. To quote an example of his language getting charged with emotion, the description of the Marsh Farm can be given.

"They knew the intercourse between heaven and earth, sunshine drawn into the breast and bowels, the rain sucked up in the daytime, nakedness that comes under the wind in autumn, showing the bird's nests no longer worth hiding. Their life and inter-relations were such; feeling the pulse and body of the soil, that opened to their furrow for the grain and became smooth and supple after their plowing, and clung to their feet with a weight that pulled like desire, lying hard and unresponsive when the crops were to be shorn away. The young com waved and was silken, and the luster along the limbs of men who saw it. They took the udder of the cows, the cows yielded milk and pulse against the hands of the men, the pulse of the blood of the tests of the cows beat into the pulse of the hands of the men."

      This passage amply brings out the poetic quality of Lawrence.

Inter-mingling of the Human and Non-human.

      In the novels of Lawrence, we get a free and frequent mingling of the human and non-human. There is a constant fusing of the animate and the inanimate. Lawrence in his novels makes, "The houses move, fields flow, flowers grow, trees wane." He makes human beings synonymous with natural objects. For instance, Anna has been described as a great river which flows on and whose flow cannot be checked. The emotions of the characters are also constantly intertwined with objects of nature e.g. Ursula functioning as the moon Goddess seeks consummation with the light of the moon. Then we have the mingling of nature and human life in the popular sheaves-gathering scene. Again, we have the scene of Ursula's encounter with horses and the mining town of Wiggiston.

Poetic Treatment of Sexual Experience.

      Lawrence, like the Romantic lyrical poets, wrote with his heart and he dealt with hypersensitive people concerned with romance, courtship and marriage. They pass through various moods as the emotional tide ebbs or flows; and the author himself enters into their feelings or states of mind and depicts them in his own vivid, concrete and moving language, charged with the lyric fire and felicity of the poetic phrase or image. These passages have to be quoted at length to be properly appreciated.

"their coming together was, much more wonderful. It was the entry into another circle of existence, it was the baptism to another life, it was the complete confirmation... At last they had thrown open the doors, each to the other, while the light flooded out from behind on to each of their faces, it was the transfiguration, the glorification, the admission."

      Thus the lovers of the first generation get fulfillment because they respect each other’s individuality, even while opposing each other they do not look beyond.

      Describing the lovers of the second generation Lawrence shows the inadequacy which Will is suffering from and wishes Anna to complete him. Their love reaches a culmination in the bliss of matrimonial union. But this bliss is followed by a prolonged conflict in which Anna strives to be her own free self, but he is eager to possess her.

“He wanted her to come to him, to complete him, to stand before him so that his eyes did not, should not meet the naked darkness. Nothing mattered to him but that she should come and complete him. For he was ridden by the awful sense of his own limitation. It was as if he ended uncompleted, as yet uncreated on the darkness, and he wanted her to come and liberate him into the whole.”

      Anna who is fighting for her supremacy is able to establish her triumph in the famous naked dance in which she dramatizes the nullification of her husband. In the third generation, the strength of the woman and her sensitiveness and passionate self-abandonment demand a violent and highly charged description with which he conveys both the fulfillment and the failure of the relationship.

"But hard and fierce she had fastened upon him, cold as the moon and burning as a fierce salt. Till gradually his warm, soft iron yielded, and she was there, fierce, corrosive, seething with his destruction, seething like some cruel corrosive salt around the last substance of his being, destroying him, destroying him in the kiss. And the soul crystallized with triumph, and his soul was dissolved with agony and annihilation. So she held him there, the victim, consumed annihilated. She had triumphed: he was not anymore."


      Lawrence writes about his characters with such urgency that his words seem 'hot and quivering on the page'. He is not concerned with the external shape but with the elemental life-force. The characters are mysteriously aware of each other even when they are not in contact with each other. For instance, describing the relation of Will Brangwen and his daughter Ursula, Lawrence says: "Between him and the little Ursula there came into being a strange alliance. They were aware of each other. He knew the child was always on his side". While on the part of Ursula, there was “the dim, childish sense of her own smallness and inadequacy, a fatal sense of worthlessness... Still she set towards him like a quivering needle. All her life Was directed by her awareness of him, her wakefulness to his being. And she was against her mother.” Then again in the case of Anna, Lawrence shows that she is aware of Will. She does not want to see him, though she felt him waiting there to notice him. She is antagonistic to him though the reasons for her antagonism are not given.


      Thus, one can conclude that the writing of Lawrence is charged with life and energy, it quivers with the pulse-beats of life and sends waves of warmth into the body and heart of his readers. No other prose writer has so successfully captured as Lawrence does, the flickering, fluttering, leaping, smoldering and burning human heart in words.

University Questions also can be Answered:

Bring out the Lyrical notes in D.H Lawrence’s The Rainbow.
Bring out the principal features of the lyrical elements of Lawrence’s style with special reference to The Rainbow.

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