A discussion of DH Lawrence's depiction of weakness in the face of other forces

Essay by lou_c_m January 2003

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In examining several of DH Lawrence's short stories and one of his poems ('Odor of Chrysanthemums', 'Strike Pay', 'Tickets, Please', 'Daughters of the vicar', and 'Snake'), it can be seen that Lawrence has presented weakness through a variety of his characters. These weaknesses appear through the characters' thoughts, relationships and actions. Lawrence has illustrated the characters weaknesses against symbolic forces such as nature and industry, and the conflict between them. The context of these stories and the poem ultimately link to how DH Lawrence had been shaped and affected by the society in which he lived.

Lawrence's own personal experiences shaped some of the main features of his craft. His mother was previously a school teacher and married down a social scale to his father, who was a miner. This personal experience influenced 'Daughters of the vicar' where one of the daughters, Louisa chose to marry down the social scale to a miner, Alfred.

Louisa chose to marry for love in contrast to her sister, Mary, who married for materialism. Mary is shown to have a weakness. She did not choose to marry for love and happiness but because her father thought "it would not be a bad match". Lawrence believed industrialism brought a lack of individuality. During one part of the story, Mary rides on a train which may be a symbol of industry. This symbolises Mary's weakness in lacking in individuality. In contrast, her sister Louisa chooses to go for a walk outside. Lawrence favoured nature. Louisa's walk symbolises her strength in choosing exactly what she wants countless of what others may think. She did not ask her mother is she could go for a walk, she simply "announced" that she was "going out" . Lawrence has illustrated Mary's weakness of lack of...