The Rainbow: Chapter 3 - Summary and Analysis

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Childhood of Anna Lensky


      The Birth of a Son. Mrs. Brangwen delivered a son but Tom never loved his son as he loved his step-daughter Anna. After the birth of her son, she lost all connection with past. Now she really became Mrs. Brangwen.

      Tom’s Dissatisfaction with Lydia. Though Lydia was still beautiful and passionate but her flame was less robust and lasting. Tom craved for satisfaction, he wanted fulfillment, his wife still loved him, and often flowed out to him, but the passionate flow would come to an end before Brangwen had his fill. He had to form another center of love in Anna and transferred a part of his life’s stream to her.

      Tom’s Love for Anna. Anna was gradually freed from her mother and became an independent forgetful little soul. She and Tom enjoyed each other’s companionship more and more; they played together and he taught her nursery rhymes. She went everywhere with him round the farm, driving in a little horse carriage to the town and finally every week to the market where men crowded and to the tavern where decency was out of place and men sat down to drink and to talk coarsely. Tom wanted to make her a lady like the educated widow of a doctor loved by his brother Alfred. He had met her and was much impressed by her culture and refinement and particularly her literary taste. He was surprised to learn that she and his brother read Browning and Herbert Spencer together.

      Satisfactory Adjustment. Often in the evening when Lydia would be busy with her sewing machine and lost in the work of her son. Tom felt rather bored and went out to the tavern to have a good time. Lydia did not quite like this and condemned him with the charge of infidelity. Though he denied the charge but he realized that his wife may be feeling lonely and bored. At night Tom sat alone in the room with his wife. He was aware of her, aware of her quiet little head, and felt angry and hostile at her calm silence. He felt suffocated and wanted to get out. But he was stopped by his wife. He looked into her eyes, and "They were darker than darkness and gave deeper space." It was then that she talked and opened out. She complained that while he wanted her to love him, he is his turn, did nothing to make her love him. He wanted to take without giving anything in exchange. She then asked him if he wanted to have another woman, as his brother had, and looked at him with her strange dark face lifted towards him. It was then that he realized in a flash that she, too, was unhappy, lonely and isolated and unsure like him and not certain and satisfied as he had supposed her to be. She called him to her. He stood before her and looked down at her face. Then she called him to her and clasping his round thighs pressed him hard against her breast. Tom hesitated and burned with desire and ultimately let himself go: Blind and destroyed he pressed forward, nearer, nearer, to receive the consummation of herself, be received within the darkness, which should swallow him and yield him up to himself."

      Their coming together after two years of married life was a wonderful experience. It was the baptism of another life, it was the complete confirmation. Always the light of transfiguration burned on in their hearts. He went his way and she went her way, to the rest of the world there seemed no change. But to the two of them there was the perpetual wonder of the transfiguration. This peace and joy between them released Anna from the tensions of having to resolve the troubles between the two and she was able to enjoy her childhood.


      The love-scenes of Lawrence are known for their intensity and the love-scenes in this chapter bears this out. Lawrence has been accused of sensuality, but nothing can be further from the truth. The two realize each other afresh and despite the title of this chapter it is only partially concerned with Anna, for Lawrence is attempting to chart the progress in the relationship between Lydia and Tom. The scenes with Anna serve a dual purpose for they serve to prepare us for our later interest in Anna’s character, but at the same time they show us another side of Tom—gay, cheerful, devoted and free of the complications which bedevil his marital relationship.

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