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Lady Chatterley's Lover | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

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Lady Chatterley's Lover | Quotes


We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

Narrator, Chapter 1

The narrator opens the novel by expressing how the war has created "a tragic age," but concludes the first paragraph with a sense of optimism. Despite the difficulties all is not hopeless and people will persevere and make lives for themselves if they take action to rediscover their own roots of existence.


It sounds like going to have your tonsils cut ... Will it be an effort?

Connie Chatterley, Chapter 3

Connie asks this of Tommy Dukes after he announces his intent to marry someday. She perceives he really doesn't want to get married and will find it very difficult.


Real knowledge comes ... out of your belly and your penis as much as out of your brain and mind.

Tommy Dukes, Chapter 4

This is Tommy Dukes's contribution to a discussion about sex. Unlike many of his contemporaries who prize the intellect over the physical, he believes sex and other physical instincts are valuable sources of knowledge.


Give me the democracy of touch, the resurrection of the body!

Connie Chatterley, Chapter 7

Connie echoes to herself Tommy Dukes's words. She has no idea what the words mean but finds them comforting. Dukes meant that when people pay attention to the physical rather than the cerebral, touch will be the equalizer, a bond across social classes.


She wanted to be clear of him, and especially of his consciousness ... his endless treadmill obsession with himself, and his own words.

Narrator, Chapter 8

Connie Chatterley is disgusted with Clifford Chatterley. She gives him some flowers, but he responds only by quoting poetry to her. He'd rather talk about flowers than experience real ones. She feels his self-immersion in the world of ideas makes him disconnected from others and the world.


This is history. One England blots out another.

Narrator, Chapter 11

The narrator shows Connie Chatterley's thoughts as she drives through the countryside to Uthwaite. The area has been developed to house coal workers and support the coal industry. In Connie's view change is inevitable. One cannot hold on to the past. The agricultural way of life has been blotted out by the industrial way of life.


There's no self in a sitting hen; she's all in the eggs or the chicks.

Oliver Mellors, Chapter 12

Mellors tells Connie Chatterley this when she watches him working at the coops. It defines the maternal role—to nurture and protect the unborn young—and describes its selflessness.


Every beetle must live its own life.

Clifford Chatterley, Chapter 13

Clifford denies the interconnection of the industrialists and the workers by discounting the role the industrialists play in creating a blighted, ugly world. He believes workers have the freedom to work where they want and build their own lives. He ignores the dependence workers have on available work opportunities created by industrialists and ignores the fact most workers receive only enough pay for essentials and have no extra money to beautify their homes or villages.


The serpent in the grass was sex.

Oliver Mellors, Chapter 14

Mellors describes how previous women he had relationships with viewed sex as something sinful. People can relate emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually with others, but are unable to do so sexually. When individuals are unable to recognize sex as a basic human instinct, it becomes something shameful and sinful that interferes with the relationship.


Whatever God there is has at last wakened up in my guts, as you call them, and is rippling so happily there, like dawn.

Connie Chatterley, Chapter 16

Connie gives this retort to her husband, Clifford Chatterley, after he tells her "the life of the body is just the life of the animals." She believes the joy and pleasure she experiences during sex has brought her back to life and meets with the approval of God or whatever divine force exists.


Perhaps you are a slave to your own idea of yourself.

Connie Chatterley, Chapter 17

This is Connie's response to her sister Hilda Reid's claim that she wants complete intimacy but has never received it. Connie thinks her sister's rigidity to a set of norms or beliefs about herself and behavior makes her unable to be open to new ideas that could change her life.


It's the one insane taboo left: sex as a natural and vital thing ... they'll kill you before they'll let you have it.

Duncan Forbes, Chapter 17

Duncan Forbes expresses his ideas about sex and society's attempts to punish people who have it. This illustrates Lawrence's belief that some people are so adamant sex is evil they refuse to accept it as a basic, natural instinct.


It is as if the events of other people's lives were the necessary oxygen of her own.

Clifford Chatterley, Chapter 17

In his second letter to Connie Chatterley while she is vacationing in Venice, Clifford describes how much Mrs. Bolton is enjoying the Mellors scandal. He aptly describes why some people thrive on gossip, suggesting their own lives are so meaningless they need to talk about other people's lives to shore up their own.


Be tender to it, and that will be its future.

Connie Chatterley, Chapter 18

Connie dismisses Oliver Mellors's fears the world is a bad place to bring a child into by telling him all a child needs is love and its future will be fine.


We really trust in the little flame, and in the unnamed god that shields it from being blown out.

Oliver Mellors, Chapter 19

In his letter to Connie Chatterley, Mellors expresses their belief in the power and rightness of their love. Their relationship was created and formed through tenderness and sex. They believe it is meant to be and blessed by whatever higher power exists.

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