I never thought I will find it upon my heart to review a book that was written and publish an excess of 100 years before I existed on this side of the living. However, books are infinite because they keep record for us the fact that what it has been will forever be. The revelation that visited implored me to skate on this book and see where humanity is right now
David Herbert Lawrence mastered the art of connecting words to deal with a myriad of issues that stirs my soul into an impeccable joy. Before ushering my thoughts on the book let me ask you what you would do when you read an introduction to a text telling you that a book caused a stir to patriotic and moralist England at a time of ‘significant wars’ that assert the nation’s place and pride in the world. They saw Lawrence’s act as subversive and insignificant side show which was not going with the national spirit. The book was literally banned and withdrawn from public access.
Creating the inside of his characters: I mean what is happening to their feelings, inner most mind and the heart of the soul, The Rainbow dismantles and tears in to that which we know and want in privacy and cover up with pretense in the outside. You are taken through three generations of the Brangwen family where the matriarchs are louder in thoughts and action.
A run down through these generations won’t help than reveal the void at the very core of Humanity and existence. The human being is found trapped in intricate systems that rob the individual of his or her independence. There is no joy that comes out of marriage, politics, religion, school, mines and imperial wars. Instead these are just stifling elements to the soul of (wo) mankind. After reading the book, I was aware more than ever of the illusions of modernity and progress.
Speaking of marriage here is what Thomas Brangwen thought of himself at ‘Anna’s wedding. Well what right had he to feel responsible, like a father? He was still as unsure and unfixed as when he had married himself. His wife and he! With a pang of anguish he realized what uncertainties they both were. He was a man of forty-five. Forty-five! In five more years fifty. The sixty – then seventy – then it was finished. My God – and one still was so unestablished!” (p.173-4) [Emphasis is mine]
Religion is no longer that sacred institution where women should crawl at with fear and trembling. Anna is said to have been caring less, had little questions when it comes to beliefs aside from her habitual and customary attendance of church regularly (p.197). I liked how she thrashed her husband’s extremism when it comes to reverence of the church and it’s symbols by attaching to them new identities and meanings from the ones the husband had known. Very interesting dimensions on this sacred theme comes through Ursula whom through her teenage girl revelry she wished she could have been loved by the sons of God and even Jesus himself. Through Anna and Ursula’s thought tracks one who is a Christian like me is unwillingly taken into those unusual territories where you see biblical events and relations in a different light. Okay allow me to take you through this lengthy conversation between Anna Brangwen and her husband whilst in church:
‘She came to look at the things with him. Half they fascinated her. She was puzzled, interested, and antagonistic.
It was when she came to pictures of the Pieta that she burst out
“I do think they’re loathsome,” she cried.
“What?” he said, surprised, abstracted.
“Those bodies with slits in them, posing to be worshipped.”
“You see it means the Sacraments, the Bread,” he said slowly.
“Does it!” she cried. “Then it’s worse. I don’t want to see your chest, nor to eat your dead body, even if you offer it me. Can’t you see it’s horrible?”
“It isn’t me, it’s Christ.”
“What if it is, it’s you! And it’s horry, you wallowing in your own dead body, and thinking of eating it in the Sacrament.”
“You’ve to take it for what it means.”
“It means your human body put up to be slit and killed and then worshiped – what else?”
They lapsed into silence. His soul grew angry and aloof.
“And I think that Lb in Church,” she said, “is the biggest joke in the parish – “
She burst into a ‘Pouf’ of ridiculing laughter.
“It might be to those who see nothing in it,” he said. “You know it’s a symbol of Christ, of His innocence and sacrifice.”
“Whatever it means, it’s a lamb,” she said. And I like lambs too much to treat them as if they had to mean something. As for the Christmas-tree flag – no -“
I can go on and on
I’m imagining Ursula and Anton making love in the sacred spaces of the temple.
I wonder how today’s girl would take Ursula’s decision to turn down two not one marriage proposals. I personally liked what she stands for in those occasions. This is a fabulous opposite to her Grandmother Lydia Brangwen of , who had two husbands. One from Poland who died and was the real father of Anna Vitrix, who is Ursula’s mother. Her second husband was Ursula’s second grandfather Tom Brangwen a British gentleman farmer. After the death of the second husband, the matriarch had to live with both her rings. Assertive of love. If you were to read the book you will enjoy the beautiful conversation between the grandmother and granddaughter Ursula concerning this marriage. My mind thinks that this and other conversations might have been the basis for Ursula’s views on marriage when she reached that stage. In childhood, Ursula and Lydia had this talk:
“Will somebody love me, grandmother?”
“Many people love you, child. We all love you.”
“But when I am grown up, will somebody love me?”
“Yes, some man will love you, child, because it’s your nature. And l hope it will be somebody who will love you for what you are, and not for what he wants of you. But we have a right to what we want.” (p.304). Latter in life Ursula had this conversation with her friend Dorothy after denying Anton’s marriage proposal:
‘”Then what do you care about?” she (Dorothy) asked, exasperated
“It isn’t supposed to lead anywhere. is it?” said Dorothy satirically. I thought it was the one thing which is an end in itself?”
“I don’t know,” said Ursula. “But something impersonal. Love – love – love – what does it amount to? So much personal gratification. It doesn’t lead anywhere.”
“Then what does it matter to me?” cried Ursula. “As an end in itself, I could love a hundred men, one after the other. Why should I end with Skrebensky? Why should I not go on, and love all types I fancy, one after another, if love is an end in itself? There are plenty of men who aren’t Anton, whom I could love _ whom I would like to love.”
How does this conversation sound in a world where the common teaching now is you have to have something in common and love the flaws in your partner? In a world where the thinking is love should culminate in marriage or where marriage is a trophy to be anticipated. For Ursula it’s that limitation of a ‘personal person’ ‘my heart in human soul’ she is guarding herself against.
But is she going to win? That you have to read the book if you haven’t or read again if you have read it some other time. I am sure you won’t be disappointed as you are going to meet struggles with these sexual identities the world is buzzing about this age. You are also going to deal with the trending issues like the violent culture in the school system. I also liked the way Lawrence’s characters deal with the imperial superiority complex ideals that are destructive to humanity in the entire empire. For Freudian scholars it will be an opportunity for you to expand on that ‘penis envy’ concept that affects relations beyond what Freud has theorized.
3 thoughts on “The Rainbow: Rethinking sexuality and religion”
I could liken this to the old aristocracy romance books i once read. The way marriage is portrayed , women were mostly.left with little or no choice but they started to question the cultures set before them it led to hard conversations because it looked like the man gained it all (is it for personal gratification)why can’t I choose who to love, common grounds or not you want the choice.
Anyway it must be an interesting book with hard views😊😊😊😂
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The author actually wrote it with the intention of creating a stronger women than that of the empowered one through universal suffrage
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Now that makes sense
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