Women in Love | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

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Women in Love | Chapter 15 : Sunday Evening | Summary



The day after Diana Crich's death, Ursula sits at home alone, waiting for Rupert. Toward evening, her amorous anticipation for his presence shifts into a despair, and she becomes absorbed in contemplation of death. Ursula is certain she will soon die. She eventually decides death is the "next step" following life and feels herself submitting to a sense of darkness and dissolution. After this, she decides that "to die is a joy" and death, unlike life, "is beyond our sullying."

Rupert arrives at last, and Ursula scolds him for going out into the rainy evening when he is obviously ill. Rupert notes a change in Ursula, marked by radiance and a quality of being separate. Two of Ursula's younger siblings, Billy and Dora, come into the room to be put to bed. Billy kisses Rupert goodnight, but Dora refuses.

Ursula's parents and other siblings, including Gudrun, arrive at the house. They have been at church. Rupert and Gerald begin criticizing the Criches for their outward and inauthentic manner of expressing grief, which Rupert confirms, having been at the house. Rupert agrees with Gudrun grief should be dealt with in private, as it was in the old days—not performed publicly.

Rupert leaves. For the next few days, Ursula is completely possessed with an abstract hatred for him. The hatred is "pure and gemlike," suggesting his existence destroys her existence. Hearing he is ill once again, she cannot shake her feeling of hate.


In this chapter Ursula seems to undergo the process of throwing away everything relating to her life and of entering the dark river of dissolution. Rupert had before spoken of this. It was hinted at in the previous chapter. It happens when Ursula feels she is struggling to remain alive as the waters thunder free from the confines of the lake at Shortlands. Rupert's relation to these ideas was purely theoretical, but Ursula now experiences them viscerally.

Ursula goes through a deep depression that turns into a terrifying experience of self-annihilation. She returns to the regular world changed. On the one hand, she has made peace with death and even begun to view it positively. On the other hand, she is possessed by a curious hatred for Rupert. Her insights into the reason for this hatred seem to suggest her conscious ego blames Rupert for the experience of annihilation she underwent. It continues to make her external life seem meaningless because he is the one who suggested it to her. This pure hatred is a major shift from her feeling of passionate, deep love for him, which had possessed her merely hours earlier.

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