The Rainbow: Chapter 16 - Summary and Analysis

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The Rainbow


      Ursula Discovers her Pregnancy. After Ursula left Skrebensky, she returned home drained and empty. Her family was angry when she told them she had broken her engagement but nothing was able to rouse her. Then she realized that she was pregnant with Skrebensky’s child. She now realized that she must marry Anton and be a good wife to him for the sake of the child. She realized that the fault had been hers, she had desired the Moon and had not been satisfied with the man who had come to her. She thought of writing to Skrebensky and express remorse for her perverse behavior. She hoped to hear from him in a 1 month's time and then she would go over to India to marry him there.

      Ursula and the Horses. One afternoon in early October she stepped out of her suffocating house to walk in rain. She hurried to the wood for shelter and watched from her hiding the great veils of rain swinging with slow floating waves across the landscape. She was drenched and she set off homeward as best she could along the narrow, wet foot-path. Suddenly she caught sight of some horses looming ahead in the rain. She pursued her way with bent head, trying to ignore their presence. She knew the heaviness of her heart. It was the weight of the horses. But she would move on steadily with the weight and so escape. Suddenly the weight deepened and her heart grew tense to bear it. Her breathing was labored, but she plodded on. But as she went on she become aware of the great flash of hoofs, a bluish iridescent flash surrounding a hollow of darkness. “Large, large seemed the bluish, incandescent flash of the, hoof-iron, large as a halo of lightning round the knotted darkness of the flanks. Like circles of lightning came the flash of hoofs from out of the powerful flanks.”

      She went on but they were awaiting her again. As she drew near they broke away and cantered around behind her. The way was clear before her, yet her heart was couched with fear all along. She could not look round, so the horses thundered upon her. She saw the fierce flanks and the bright flashing hoofs, brandished about her. Her heart was gone, she knew she did not draw near. The concentrated knitted flanks of horses had conquered. Ursula tried to escape them by climbing tree and fell on the other side. It was with great difficulty that she returned home. She walked home wearily and she felt that she was destined to walk all her life all alone, wearily.

      Ursula Loses the Baby. Ursula was for a fortnight, delirious shaken and racked. But always amid the ache of delirium, she had a dull firmness of being a sense of permanency.

      She lost the baby and now there was no more that bond between Skrebensky and her. Skrebensky now became a memory. A symbol of the past, which was no more. Thus she did not feel much hurt when she received a cable from him telling her about his marriage.

      The Rainbow. Convalescent, Ursula's mind strove to find a purpose in life, to seek 'the creation of the living God'. The mining community around her seemed to be dead and life completely corrupt. Then she looked out of the window and saw a rainbow begin to form. She seized for herself God's promise and at last hope returned to her and faith in the future, "that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their honey covering of integration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising to the light and the wind, and the clean rain of heaven. She saw in the rainbow, the earth’s new architecture, the old, the brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the world built up in a living fabric of truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven."


      The novel undoubtedly ends on a note of hope. The Rainbow is a symbolic presentation of hope for the future. The future holds a promise of spiritual regeneration and fulfillment in the future. The horses are symbolic of the darkness of despair within Ursula. Ursula has to go through the crisis of suffering and physical destruction before she can emerge into new life. It is only after she had overcome physical strength and sexuality represented by the horses that she is able to find spiritual hope.

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