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He is therefore trying to talk Connie into having a child by another man that would be raised by Clifford as the heir of Wragby.
To Connie, on the other hand, it is the mental life that “[begins] to feel like nothingness” (691), and her spiritual awakening is intimately bound up with her sexual awakening, which she experiences with her lover, and her husband’s servant, Oliver Mellors.
I return to this familiar ground, covered multiple times by the critics in the past, in order to shed new light on the notions of sexual mastery and submission in specific connection with vitalism.
But the two ways of knowing, for man, are knowing in terms of apartness, which is mental, rational, scientific, and knowing in terms of togetherness, which is religious and poetic. He insists that the valorization of intellectualism divorced from feeling and sensation fragments human existence and leaves it barren and empty of meaning (Clifford’s stories are meaningless), while tenderness and loving connection (Connie and Mellors’ love) are capable of lifting sexuality from the realm of animal nature and transforming it into something that is genuinely human.
In the quoted passage, Lawrence aligns the reductionist approach to knowledge with modern technocratic civilization, and opposes it implicitly to the second way of knowing, that of togetherness.
She is actively involved in his writing career, reading his stories, encouraging him, and serving as a hostess to his circle of intellectuals.
It is suggested that Clifford has a premonition of Connie’s impending desertion, and this is probably why he so ardently about insists that a mental connection, created as a consequence of “an integrated life built on a habit of intimacy” (691), is everything, while casual sex is nothing.
The lovers, Connie and Mellors, their bucolic surroundings, and their affair, narratively framed by the life-affirming progress of the spring, are associated with words such as “vital,” “alive,” and “life,” and allusions to vigor, viability, pliancy, and fertility are frequently invoked in this connection. , round and vital” (719), and the pine-tree under which Connie sits is an “erect, alive thing” that is “elastic, and powerful, rising up” (714).
Thus, trees in the forest, surrounding the love nest, are described as “powerful beings, dim twilit, silent and alive” (739); the oak trees have “powerful trunks . Early spring daffodils are “so bright and alive” (714), while a newly born a pheasant chick is “the most alive little spark of a creature in seven kingdoms” (732-3).
Connie, whose provenance from an intellectual and cultural elite has supplied her with “an aesthetically unconventional upbringing” (662), has her formative encounter with the life of ideas as a young girl in Germany, where she discovers freedom and the thrill of intellectual debate in a mixed-gender company of students.
At this stage, “it was the talk that mattered supremely: the impassioned interchange of talk. It was men that “insisted on the sex thing like dogs” (662), but to women, it was the passionate and intellectual interchange that held the main attraction, and sex was something to which they consented reluctantly.
Connie’s figure, as she looks at herself in the mirror, is also spoken of in organic terms with her breasts “pear-shaped” but “unripe,” her “down-sloping” curves having retained some youthful “down-slipping richness,” are becoming “sapless” and “going unripe, astringent” after years of celibacy (703-704).
In this scene, before she embarks on her affair with Mellors, Connie perceives herself as drained of life (her “vitality is much too low” (709)); only in her buttocks, it appears, “life still lingered hoping” (704).
Even these smaller things are powerful in their own way: the daffodils are “so strong in their frailty” (714), and the pheasant chick is “so cheeky” and “so utterly without fear” (733).