Women in Love | Study Guide

D.H. Lawrence

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Course Hero. "Women in Love Study Guide." April 13, 2018. Accessed December 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Women-in-Love/.


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Women in Love | Chapter 7 : Fetish | Summary



The next morning, Gerald wakes and leaves the Pussum sleeping. He is surprised to find Halliday and Maxim sitting naked in front of the fire. He finds himself admiring the men's beauty and questioning why such admiration should diminish him as a man. Halliday explains he thinks life would be completely different if he could always go without clothes. He says going without clothes means one would feel rather than merely see things. Gerald is skeptical.

Rupert appears, and Gerald asks his opinion on the African carving of the woman giving birth. Rupert says it is art because it represents a complete truth. The naked men crowd around to contemplate the statue. Gerald feels a deep connection with the statue, which he connects with the Pussum. Returning to the bedroom, Gerald thinks the Pussum is a slave and subject to his will, lacking her own.

Gerald remains at Halliday's flat for several more nights, and the group maintains its routine of nights at the Pompadour. The group grows more weary and disconnected from one another until the fourth night when Halliday forces Gerald into a physical altercation at the Pompadour. After this, Gerald leaves London.


The chapter's title, Fetish, is a word whose double meaning unites two elements Lawrence engages with throughout the novel. A fetish, in common sense, refers to a sexual response to a specific stimulus, often a stimulus that is considered abnormal or uncommon. Here, Gerald's appreciation of the other men's nudity would have certainly been labeled a fetish in Lawrence's time. The second meaning of fetish is an object revered or worshiped as the home of a spirit or for its magical powers. The wooden carving in Halliday's apartment is there as decoration. In its original context and also personally to Rupert and Gerald, it is a powerful object. It is matter infused with "complete truth" that Gerald connects with as he rarely connects with actual individuals. Gerald instantly recognizes it and the Pussum refer to each other. They are both Other, of a different spiritual race than Gerald, and they both have their identities borne upon them through their physicality. Their identities result from this way rather than choosing with their will, as Gerald does.

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