Women in Love | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

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Women in Love | Chapter 28 : Gudrun in the Pompadour | Summary

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Summary

With Christmas around the corner, Gerald and Gudrun depart for their journey to Tyrol. They stop in London for a night. They have plans to travel from there through Paris and on to Innsbruck, where Ursula and Rupert will meet up with them.

During their night in London, Gerald and Gudrun go to the Pompadour, a place Gudrun hates but feels compelled to return to. Julius Halliday, Maxim Libidnikov, and the Pussum are at a table in the corner. The Pussum approaches Gerald and, barely acknowledging Gudrun, asks whether Rupert is really married and whether Gerald is having a good time. She expresses a desire for Gerald to come to Julius's apartment. Gudrun realizes Gerald and the Pussum have been lovers.

Gudrun listens as Halliday and his friends begin drunkenly to mock Rupert, saying "he is as bad as Jesus." Halliday takes out a letter Rupert wrote him and reads it aloud, in a mock-reverent tone, as if he were reading the Bible. The letter discusses the journey backward toward the self's origin and advises Julius on how he might achieve this with the Pussum. Maxim says Rupert is a maniac who has delusions of saving humankind.

Enraged, Gudrun sends Gerald away to pay the bill and approaches Halliday's table. She asks to see the letter and then walks out the door with Gerald, the letter in her possession. In the taxi to the hotel, Gudrun explains what happened, and Gerald expresses approval of her taking the letter. Saying she "could have killed" those "dogs," Gudrun is taken with a desire to leave London immediately and never return.

Analysis

The scene at the Pompadour is the last time the novel will show Gudrun and Gerald in England. It functions to highlight the changes Gerald and Gudrun have undergone and the transition they are currently undergoing.

Gudrun is drawn to the Pompadour out of pure hatred. Feeling this hatred has the effect of giving her a sense of pleasure, perhaps bolstering her confidence in her decision to leave England behind. The immature behavior of the Possum and Halliday's entire party makes it easy for good Gudrun to feel justification in her hate. She was once among this crowd, living a bohemian lifestyle in London. While they have all remained the same, she has had a wealth of experience and is continuing to move onward.

Their mockery of Rupert's letter gives Gudrun the opportunity to claim a clear moral high ground. Whether or not Rupert is as pompous and deluded as Halliday and his friends claim, they are worse. These "bohemians" are not artists but rather mere gossips with habits of drunkenness and promiscuity. Their "art" is the cheap pleasure they derive from tearing down the ideas of others. Gudrun herself has done a fair share of mocking Rupert, even mocking him with Gerald in the back seat of a car while he drives them. Now she acts in a manner that suggests she has developed a sense of loyalty to him, her sister's husband. For Gudrun the episode symbolizes the rottenness of England. Her strengthened repulsion helps propel her forward on her journey, eliminating the possibility of backward-looking regret.

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