The Rainbow: Chapter 7 - Summary and Analysis

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The Cathedral


      Ann and Will Visit Baron Skrebensky. This chapter begins with a flashback to a time before the birth of Ursula when Anna and Will went on a visit to Baron Skrebensky who was a Polish friend of the girlhood days of Lydia Lensky and he considered himself a guardian to Anna because she was a pure Pole. He lost his wife when he was forty and three years later he married a young English girl of good family. He had also become the Vicar of Briswell, a place about thirty miles away from Marsh Farm. The older couples were both magnetic and elusive. Will finds as his father-in-law finds before him, that the Baronsss teases and tempts him, openly flaunting her sexuatlity, but at the same time repulsing him, making clear her superiority. Arma is intrigued by the Baron who, though old and wizened, has a fiery quality inside him which attracts her. Here we are also introduced to the infant son of the Baron who is to figure largely in the life of Ursula.

      Lincoln Cathedral. Anna and Will also go to see the Lincoln Cathedral which Will Brangwen loved with all the passion of a devotee. On seeing the Cathedral Will's soul leaped up into the gloom, into possession. "It reeled, it swooned with a great escape; it quivered in the womb in the hush and gloom of fecundity, like seed of procreation in ecstasy." Though Anna was also overcome with awe and wonder but for her there was no transport or frenzy and mad ecstasy. She is attracted only by the human quality of the stone carvings and reads her own drama into the little stone faces with calculated manners she tales away Will’s joy in the perfection and wholeness of the Cathedral itself. Will, though continues to have reverence for the church, but he could no longer find fulfillment through it.

      At Home. At home she takes the same attitude to him and to the Church, mocking him when in speechless anger he kneels beside his bed to pray. Anna has trouble looking after Ursula because she is a delicate child. But she is kept occupied and gets complete bliss and fulfillment. Anna becomes pregnant for the second time when Ursula is just ten months old. Will now no longer tries to assert his supremacy, or even tries to gain her respect. He loves her physically but at the same time he feels isolated, abandoned and ignored.

      Will’s Frustration. Will tries to occupy himself with the Church; he plays the organ, trains the other boys, teaches a Sunday School class of youth. He is happy and excited; his wife loves him as the father of her children and he is serviceable to the matriarchy at home. He loves with a hot heart the dark horrid little Ursula and waits for the child to come to her consciousness. Meanwhile he keeps himself busy with his wood-work and to know his weakness and control his fits of dark passion. But there is a darkness in him which he cannot unfold.


      The part describing the visit to Lincoln Cathedral has been described as a prose-poem because of Lawrence's criticism of Christian dogma. Lawrence in this chapter, seems more concerned with the event and not with the character. The visit to Sksebensky is uneventful but the four characters involved are illuminated for us. Particularly striking is the use of metaphors such as ferret 'weasel', 'stoat' to suggest the predatory nature of the Baroness. Likewise the description of Lincoln Cathedral leads? us to differentiate between the dark, mystical character of Will and the earthly, human nature of Anna.

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