Lady Chatterley's Lover | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Lady Chatterley's Lover Study Guide." Course Hero. 5 Oct. 2017. Web. 19 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lady-Chatterleys-Lover/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2017, October 5). Lady Chatterley's Lover Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 19, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lady-Chatterleys-Lover/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Lady Chatterley's Lover Study Guide." October 5, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lady-Chatterleys-Lover/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Lady Chatterley's Lover Study Guide," October 5, 2017, accessed July 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Lady-Chatterleys-Lover/.

Lady Chatterley's Lover | Chapter 11 | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

As Connie Chatterley and Mrs. Bolton sort through items in a storage room, they find a cradle. Connie expresses interest in it and tells Mrs. Bolton she may have a child with Clifford Chatterley. She says that though his muscles are paralyzed it does not affect him elsewhere. She is lying, but Clifford has given her this idea, saying his sexual potency was returning through his hard work. Mrs. Bolton doesn't fall for Connie's story. She wonders if Connie is pregnant with Oliver Mellors's child. The thought pleases her because it would be a "Tevershall baby in the Wragby cradle." When Mrs. Bolton goes into the village, she tells the villagers Connie may be pregnant.

Two people ask Clifford if he is expecting an heir, so he asks Connie about the rumor. She denies knowing of it and asks if it is a joke or malice. Clifford says he hopes it is a prophecy. Connie changes the subject and says her father has written and accepted an invitation for her to stay with his friend in Venice for two months. They discuss her trip, and Clifford says he doesn't mind if she goes for only three weeks as long as she is certain she will return. Connie gives her word she will. The trip gives her the perfect opportunity to claim she had a lover in Venice if she does have a child.

One day in May Field drives Connie into Uthwaite. She observes the ugly squalor of Tevershall and contemplates how dismal it is, as if all of its former beauty had been sucked right out of it. She hears schoolchildren singing and finds their singing so unlike anything she considered song. She considers the villagers devoid of real life, as if they were half corpses. She concludes Tevershall is the new England, one "producing a new race of mankind, over-conscious in the money and social and political side, on the spontaneous, intuitive side dead." She realizes this is where Mellors came from, but she rationalizes he is apart from it, as is she.

Along the drive Connie notices how the countryside has changed and urbanization is taking over it. She is pleased to get to Uthwaite, which remains relatively unchanged. It's the Chatterley's town, "where the Chatterleys were still the Chatterleys." She realizes the mines made the aristocrats wealthy, and now the mines are "blotting them out." Connie, a member of the leisure class, still belongs to old England, but the old England is being blotted out and what she sees all around her is the new England.

After Connie returns from her excursion into Uthwaite, Clifford asks if she thinks "there is something eternal in marriage." Connie says he makes "eternity sound like a lid or a long, long chain that trailed after one." He explains he really wants to know whether she will become more serious about another man if she takes a lover in Venice. She assures him she will not. The next day when she is gardening with Mrs. Bolton, she asks about her deceased husband. Mrs. Bolton says he has been dead 23 years. They have a heart-to-heart talk about his death, his work in the pit, their life together, childbirth, his reaction to her giving birth—and the loss she feels. Mrs. Bolton describes the loss as if no time has passed, explaining she misses his touch, his body next to hers, their just being together. Her greatest want was not sex, but just "to feel him there with me, warm." Connie asks how she can still remember her husband's touch after all these years. Mrs. Bolton tells her touch is the one thing that lasts. Children grow up and leave, but touch remains.

Analysis

Clifford Chatterley senses a rift in his and Connie Chatterley's relationship, but he has no idea how deep it is. Connie makes a commitment to him she will return to Wragby after her trip to Italy, but she doesn't promise to stay with him forever. There is so much unspoken between them. Connie's dislike is becoming stronger, while Clifford seems oblivious, or unconcerned, about her feelings as long as she is there. He wants his world to go on as it has been, even if there is no substance to his marriage. He has this same attitude toward his personal station in life. He wants an heir so he can preserve old England.

Connie views old England with mixed feelings. England is changing by becoming more industrialized. Streets and houses and other buildings are being developed on the formerly unblemished fields. Aristocrats' estates are being sold and torn down for the expanding villagers and their needs. Those that remain are like "ghosts" among the "tangle of naked railway-lines, and foundries and other 'works.'" The narrator's description of Tevershall is full of words with negative connotations: "squalid straggle," "blackened brick dwellings," and "mud black with coal-dust." This symbolizes the decline of the aristocratic way of life and the traditional social class system as well as the expansion of the industrialized way of life.

Connie struggles with the class divisions. She is of the leisure class, but she is sleeping with a working-class man who comes from Tevershall. Everything she sees and knows of Tevershall makes it an ugly, blighted, undesirable environment. She views the villagers as devoid of real life and as "half-corpses" and considers them a new race. They are different from the leisure class. They are permeated with "the utter negation of natural beauty, the utter negation of the gladness of life, the utter absence of the instinct for shapely beauty which every bird and beast has." She hears schoolchildren singing, but the sound they make is "like nothing on earth," demonstrating this new race's inability to create things of beauty, such as music, literature, and art. This new race is one that is "over-conscious in the money and social and political side" and primarily pursues money and crass consumerism. The villagers are wage slaves who have been reduced to "less than humanness." And this means an end to fellowship between people. It, too, is doomed.

Connie wants to believe Oliver Mellors is superior to the Tevershall villagers, even though he comes from that environment. She wants to believe he is separate from it, but she thinks that "even in him there was no fellowship left." This reflects Lawrence's belief people of his time were wounded, so severely wounded they were unable to sustain meaningful human relationships—or fellowships. Pursuing success, or money, or the acquisitions of material goods, was dominant, not fellowship. And those pursuits were unable to heal the wounds and repair the fractured relationships and inability of people to engage in true fellowship. Increased industrialization and urbanization, such as that evident at Stacks Gate, only made things worse. The blackened imagery of the countryside, of Tevershall, and of Stacks Gate symbolizes the blackened human heart and its dead nature. Humans are focusing on life-deadening activities rather than life-affirming ones.

Connie's views of the colliers as subhuman, existing only to serve the elements of the coal-, iron-, and metal-working industries, creates a deep fear that Oliver Mellors's child will be like them. The fear is so deep she cannot even let it gain hold in her consciousness. Forced to acknowledge her lover is her husband's hireling, she thinks of words from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." She realizes the character of Mellors, or their future child, is not bound by environment, or fate, but is shaped by the human condition. This reflects Lawrence's belief in free will and the equality of all people, regardless of their social class. The words have another meaning. Spoken by the Roman nobleman Cassius, they were meant to persuade Brutus from overthrowing Caesar because it would not serve his intended purpose. Mellors is about to usurp Clifford's place in terms of his relationship with Connie, but Mellors has no need to take the same place Clifford holds in his social standing. In other words their future child is not destined to be like the half-dead colliers and nor is it necessary for them to be members of the upper class in order to have a great fellowship and live life to the fullest.

Mrs. Bolton's description of the love she shared with her husband reinforces the validity of physical touch and its importance in a relationship. Mrs. Bolton still feels her husband as if he were alive. That's more than Connie feels for Clifford, who actually is alive. If touch could be this lasting, it must be the force that sustains love and life.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Lady Chatterley's Lover? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!