The Rainbow: Chapter 6 - Summary and Analysis

Also Read


Anna Victrix


      The Honeymoon. As Will and Anna had a few days holiday after marriage, they decided to celebrate their honeymoon in their own cottage. During the honeymoon period both were mainly engrossed in each other, staying in bed half the day and taking little notice of the outside world. Completely isolated from the external world, they felt they were a law unto themselves and they could enjoy and squander and waste like conscienceless gods. They would get up late sometimes almost in the evening and at other times go to bed quite early. All principles and all rules were forgotten and Will allowed his Anna to do as she liked. "All that mattered was that he should love her and she should love him, and they should live kindled to one another. This period of ecstasy makes Will feel disturbed at the defiance of the natural order, but he comes to accept it."

      Beginning of Conflict. Soon they had to return to the outside world. Anna was less hampered than he, so she came more quickly to her fullness, and was sooner ready to return to the outside world. She decided to give a party and was enthusiastic about her preparations for it. William’s heart sank at the prospect of this lapse into the old ways. This was the first beginning of antagonism between them. Her indifference to him galled him and flayed his soul.

      She resented his hovering near her wanting her to be with him, the futility of him, the way his head hung irritated her beyond bearing. She wanted to be herself free from his haunting presence. Thus turned him into a sinistered being: she was afraid of him and went to the Marsh for respite. The perfect communion of the early days was followed by unrest and dissension is which souls of the young couple rebelled against each other; their love was often indistinguishable from hate and each lacerated the emotions of the other. Thus, "They loved each other, they wanted each other; and yet they quarreled fiercely and incessantly. They were like two hawks, striking each other, and flaying the soul of each other terribly."

      The Church-going. Sunday was a particular torture to Anna, for Will's love of the church and easy acceptance of biblical teaching deeply angered her and she tried to undermine his beliefs, attacking both the symbols of his religion and the words of the Bible. They constantly goaded each other to fury and were subsequently reconciled, only to quarrel again. But Anna could not afford to lose her husband : Always her husband was the unknown to which she was delivered. He had her nakedness in his power. Then she gathered him to herself again and was satisfied for a moment, but she could not help thinking that he was still something dark and alien to herself; that they were opposites, not complements. He did not alter: he remained a separate self and seemed to expect her to be a part of himself. She let him try to gain power over her without knowing her. Sometimes he seemed like darkness covering her in its suffocating embrace and she revolted and struck at him. He revolved and struck at her. He become wicked and violent and wanted to destroy her. She fought to keep herself free of him, and he to keep her always by his side as a shield against the dogs of the world. So it went on continually, the recurrence of love and conflict between them. One day it seemed as if everything was shattered, all life spoiled, ruined, desolated and laid waste. The next day it was all marvelous again, just marvelous.

      Anna’s Pregnancy. Now Anna discovered that she was pregnant. For four days she waited for a suitable moment to tell Will. But their hearts were set against each other. At last while walking home from the Marsh she told Will about her pregnancy. Will was afraid at this, afraid to know he was alone. For she seemed fulfilled and separate and sufficient in her half of the world, while he was so unfulfilled. Anna loved her husband and wanted him to share the bliss that was illuminating the world around her till it become a paradise. She noticed the growing gentleness of her husband and dreaded the presence of the darkness and another world still in his soft, sheathed hand. She was aware that he was trying to force his will upon her, there was something he wanted. She did not want his bitter corrosive love, she did not want it poured into her, to bum her. When he came she rose with her hands full of love, as of flowers, radiant, innocent; his face grew dark and tense, the cruelty gathered in his brows; she shrank in fear and went away to preserve herself. He did not want flowery innocence; he was unsatisfied.

      The Dance. Anna had become big with the child. One day Anna danced naked in her room lifting her hands and her body to the unseen creator to whom she really belonged. She took off her clothes and danced in the pride of her bigness. This infuriated Will, but he was unable to stand up against her. He felt he was being burned alive, being consumed by her dance. Yet he could not live without her and thus he concluded that it was no use combatting her. "He would insist no more, he would force her no more. He would force himself upon her no more. He would let go, relax, lapse, and what would be, should be."

      The Final Adjustment. Anna decided that she could not sleep with him anymore. She said he destroyed her sleep. But alone he could not sleep; he needed to be able to put his arms around her and feel her warm pressure against his breast. He was falling off, dissolving dropping, to extinction. Horrible in the extreme were nocturnal combats, when all the world was asleep, and two were alone in the world repelling each other. They were friends again in the trepid way they slept together without trying to meet and mingle. He could be alone now; he learned the meaning of standing alone.

      Arrival of the Baby. Anna gave birth to a female and they named her Ursula, for it was tawny, and had a curious downy skin. It was a vigorous and active baby and as it grew up Anna was proud of it, and liked to play with it. But since she longed to have a son she was not quite fulfilled. The baby was 'Anna Victrix' in the true sense of the term. Her husband could not combat her anymore. He was content to live in his own private world with his wife and child and looked at the busy external world in the light of a superfluous commodity, then she was with a child again. And this made her feel contented. She was now sure of her husband, she knew his slim vigorous body as hers. With satisfaction she relinquished the adventure to the unknown. She was bearing her children. Still her doors opened under the arch of the rainbow : She was a door and a threshold herself.


      Interest in this chapter is not so much on the character of Will and Anna, but in the relationship between them. We see that Lawrence can write of lover's quarrels as intensely as he can write of their love. His quarrel scenes are as intense as his love scenes. Lawrence tries to analyze the relationship of Will and Anna in a depth of detail that is completely original. The chapter also illustrates his thesis that a woman is fulfilled through childbirth, while man seeks his fulfillment through her, and can be fulfilled only by her. The symbol of the rainbow used towards the end of the chapter is recalled at the end of the book.

Previous Post Next Post