Women in Love | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

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Course Hero. "Women in Love Study Guide." April 13, 2018. Accessed December 14, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Women-in-Love/.

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Course Hero, "Women in Love Study Guide," April 13, 2018, accessed December 14, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Women-in-Love/.

Women in Love | Chapter 10 : Sketchbook | Summary

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Summary

One morning Ursula and Gudrun walk to Willey Water. Ursula goes off and leaves Gudrun sketching marsh plants on a bank.

She is sighted by Hermione and Gerald, who row their boat over. Gudrun longs to see him, feeling him as her master and refuge from the dark, dirty colliers' world. As he approaches, her consciousness dims and her blood slows. Hermione insists on looking at Gudrun's sketches, despite her not wishing to share them, so Gerald reaches out to take the book from Gudrun. At this moment, he remembers she is the one who called him proud at the railroad crossing. A strong, unconscious feeling passes between them.

Hermione takes the book, but moments later Gerald tries to grab it from her to look himself. An unconscious "storm of revulsion" against him makes Hermione unsteady. The book falls into the water. Gerald obeys Hermione's order to retrieve the soggy book. Hermione makes an extended show of apology that furthers Gudrun's exasperation. Gudrun says the matter is trivial, but any fault is Gerald's. With these words, a bond is established firmly between Gudrun and Gerald. They see they are alike and there is a "diabolic freemasonry" between them. Gerald and Hermione row away, but Gerald is so bound to Gudrun Hermione's orders about how to steer go unheeded.

Analysis

In this chapter a small, brief incident creates several power shifts. The bond that was primed in Chapter 8 when Gudrun performed in the ballet and danced with Gerald at Breadalby is firmly established.

The minimal action—the sketchbook falling into Willey Water and Gerald's subsequent retrieval of it—is loaded with symbolism. Gudrun's sketching of the marsh plants rising up from the bottom of the lake recalls Rupert's sketching of the Chinese picture of geese in Chapter 8. The narrator establishes the state produced by this artistic activity is one of vivid, sensuous knowing, not mere external observation. The narrator says, "But she could feel their turgid fleshy structure as in a sensuous vision. She knew how they rose out of the mud, she knew how they thrust out from themselves, how they stood stiff and succulent against the air."

Gudrun is identified with these mud flowers, down in the low, dark underwater. When Gerald is approaching Gudrun, she senses he has a quality "like the electricity of the sky." This phrase establishes Gerald as higher than Gudrun. But Gerald is soon forced to lower himself into the water while Gudrun stands on the bank and observes his upturned loins. The very act of his bending over makes him feel self-conscious and vulnerable. This is not the first time Gudrun has watched Gerald enter Willey Water. The first time, she envied his freedom. Now she watches him as if ruling over him. When Gudrun dismisses the matter as trivial, it is with an intention and will to enfold Gerald into her power. As Gerald rows away, he is bound to Gudrun and pays no attention to Hermione.

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