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Course Hero. "Women in Love Study Guide." April 13, 2018. Accessed December 10, 2018.


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Women in Love | Quotes


There was always a ... chink in her armor ... [S]he had no natural sufficiency, there was a terrible void, a lack, a deficiency of being within her.

Narrator, Chapter 1

When Hermione Roddice first appears in the novel in Chapter 1, the narrator describes her in great detail. The description illuminates not only her external mode of being but explains the defect of the core of her character. The narrator claims her embrace of social change and intellectual ideas and her attachment to Birkin are ways of trying to fill her emptiness. By performing outwardly, Hermione gives a convincing impression of being a complete, fully functioning human being. However, as the novel will show, she collapses utterly whenever her outward performance is threatened.


One man isn't any better than another, not because they are equal, but because they are intrinsically other, that there is no term of comparison.

Rupert Birkin, Chapter 8

Rupert Birkin corrects Hermione Roddice for her careless statement suggesting society's problems would be solved by the recognition of the spiritual equality of all persons. Rupert argues the opposite, claiming the equal distribution of rights necessitates the recognition each person is different, not all people are the same. Hermione's argument sameness is the foundation of rights has the potential to produce a society where individuals are denied rights, or persecuted when they are different. Birkin himself is a man apart, a true individual. His emphasis on the utter individuality of people is also a part of his conception of ideal love.


'Yes' ... and tried to regain her mind. Use all her will as she might, she could not recover. She suffered the ghastliness of dissolution.

Narrator, Chapter 8

When Hermione Roddice comes upon Rupert Birkin making a copy of a drawing of geese, he feels drained by her demand to know what knowledge he gets from the activity. Birkin tells her in copying the drawing, he acquires a visceral understanding of the mysteries of being a goose and feels what they feel. Hermione cannot understand such knowledge, which is beyond the limits of the intellect, and her will breaks as she struggles to find a response. Rupert's words were like a key to crack Hermione. They throw her out of her power and force her to undergo a kind of ego death. She remains in a sick trance until her attempt to murder Birkin with a paperweight brings it to an end.


He took off his clothes, and sat down naked among the primroses ... lying down and letting them touch his belly ... He seemed to saturate himself with their contact.

Narrator, Chapter 8

Having entered Hermione's study to apologize to her, Birkin finds himself the victim of attempted murder. Hermione, under the spell of her violent subconscious, tries to crack his skull with a paperweight. Birkin manages to escape Breadalby and takes refuge in the nature of the surrounding countryside. His sensuous, full-body contact with the plants of the forest calms him. He decides his place is not with people, but in the nonhuman world of nature.


And if you don't believe in love, what do you believe in? ... Simply in the end of the world, and grass?

Ursula Brangwen, Chapter 11

In their first philosophical conversation, Rupert Birkin expresses the desire that humanity should be eradicated. He claims what remained would be a beautiful world, which he describes as a "world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass, and a hare sitting up." Ursula finds this to be a pleasing image but understands it is a simplification and a fantasy. Her real annoyance is with his claim he loves neither individuals nor humanity. She finds this hypocritical in light of his continuing pursuit of relationships and his employment in the schools.


'If you once die,' he said, 'then when it's over, it's finished. Why come to life again? There's room under that water there for thousands.'

Gerald Crich, Chapter 14

Gerald dives repeatedly into the cold depths of Willey Water to find his sister Diana. His family and friends make him give up the fruitless search, lest he endangers his own life. These words, spoken to Gudrun, express the deep nihilism at Gerald's core. Having been in grips of death ever since he killed his brother as a child, Gerald's life has been stunted with suffering and meaninglessness. Rather than continue a living death, he expresses a desire to move through to his actual death. His repeated dives into the lake have shown him just how easy that would be.


Instead of chopping yourself down to fit the world, chop the world down to fit yourself.

Rupert Birkin, Chapter 16

Rupert Birkin and Gerald Crich discuss Gerald's precocious, singular teenage sister Winifred. His dying father's wish is to put Winifred on a path that honors her unique nature. This would be better than subjecting her to the traditional path of school and marriage. Birkin agrees a person such as Winifred needs to be able to live in a world of her own. Here, he expresses this thought pithily.


The centralizing force that had held the whole together seemed to collapse with his father, the parts were ready to go asunder in terrible disintegration.

Narrator, Chapter 17

The lingering death of Gerald's father is agonizing for Gerald. This is in part because Gerald now realizes the values his father held, which he always opposed, are the values that gave his life a sense of coherence and meaning. With his father gone, these values will also die. Gerald will struggle to exist, having nothing to oppose or improve upon. This is in fact what happens, and Gerald's death follows not long after his father's.


She who could never suffer, because she never formed vital connections ... she must be the object of her father's final passionate solicitude.

Narrator, Chapter 17

Thomas Crich has spent his lifetime treating his mine workers with love and charity. Now on his deathbed, Thomas becomes obsessed with ensuring his precocious daughter Winifred will have a life that will not crush her freedom. Winifred represents a new kind of person. Her nihilism is playful, not hateful and mocking, and she is utterly self-sufficient. Thomas senses Winifred is the only one of his family equipped to navigate the new era. He takes steps to help her do so by hiring Gudrun Brangwen as her governess.


It was as if Birkin's whole physical intelligence interpenetrated into Gerald's body ... through the muscles into the very depths of Gerald's physical being.

Narrator, Chapter 20

Rupert Birkin proposes he and Gerald Crich wrestle jujitsu style as a way to overcome Crich's sense of boredom and meaninglessness. Their naked, private wrestling has more in common with a transcendent sexual experience than with combative sport. Indeed, they are experiencing a lover's intimacy under the pretense of manly athletics. It is this pretense that allows them to maintain their distance once the wrestling ends.


One should die quickly, like the Romans, one should be master of one's fate in dying as in living.

Narrator, Chapter 21

Gerald suffers greatly as his father lingers in his illness, refusing stubbornly to die. He feels as if the excruciatingly slow process of death is happening to him, and he must bear the torment of it passively. It is his father's will, not his own, that is controlling the process. The philosophy of death Gerald expresses here also foreshadows how he will go to his own death.


It is not a picture of a friendly horse to which you give a lump of sugar ... it is part of a work of art, it has no relation to anything outside that work of art.

Herr Loerke, Chapter 29

Ursula Brangwen criticizes Herr Loerke's statue of a horse for not capturing the essence of a horse. His retort encapsulates the essence of his nihilistic view of art and life. To Loerke art is not a means of going deeper into life. It is a separate, ideal realm of absolute form, whose meaning exists apart from any relation to the relative world. Ursula doesn't buy this and snaps the horse is actually a reflection of his own experience, but he is too proud to see it.


She felt that there ... among the final cluster of peaks, there, in the infolded navel of it all, was her consummation.

Narrator, Chapter 29

In Tyrol Gudrun is deeply compelled by the mountains, so much so Gerald becomes jealous of her connection to them. Her feeling ultimate satisfaction will come by journeying into the mountains foreshadows the resolution of her power struggle with Gerald. This event occurs while Gudrun is picnicking in the mountains. Symbolically, Gudrun is also moving toward a startling coldness of personality, which matches the terrifying coldness of the mountains.


There would be no shameful thing she had not experienced .... Why not? She was free, when she knew everything, and no dark shameful things were denied her.

Narrator, Chapter 29

In Tyrol Ursula is troubled by Birkin's animalistic energy, both in his dancing and later in bed. She realizes it arouses a sense of shame in her and, analyzing it, decides it is pointless and she will let it go. This is yet another step in Ursula's transformation into the confident self-realized woman she knew she would become at the novel's start.


'I detest it ... Women and love, there is no greater tedium,' he cried ... This was her own basic feeling. Men, and love—there was no greater tedium.

Narrator, Chapter 30

As Gudrun Brangwen discusses her next move with Herr Loerke, her suggestion of Paris is met with his exclamation against love. Loerke is saying something Rupert Birkin has often felt and expressed, but his manner of speech is much more concise. In a manner that recalls Birkin's dynamic with Ursula, Loerke expresses a revulsion for love. Then, in the next breath, he expresses the desire to have a love relationship with Gudrun. Like Birkin, he wants to give the word his own meaning and disparage all other interpretations.

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