Lady Chatterley's Lover
Freedom and Confinement Theme
There's a lot of entrapment in Lady Chatterley's Lover. Connie is trapped in an unhappy marriage; poor Clifford is trapped in a wheelchair; and Hilda, Connie's sister, is trapped in a prison of convention. There are all kinds of traps—marriage, family, convention, money, fate—and the novel doesn't give us any real sense that it's possible to break out. Connie isn't free at the end of the novel, and neither is Mellors. Even divorce isn't necessarily a way out, as anyone with joint custody can tell you. We're all trapped together in a world that's basically a prison full of lunatics and weaklings. Awesome.
Questions About Freedom and Confinement
- At what moments in the novel, if ever, do any of the characters seem free? When are they most trapped?
- Lawrence seems to think that many modern institutions are prisons: marriage, wealth, estates, the economy, and even literature itself. Is Lady Chatterley's Lover basically anti-institutional?
- Would it agree with Fight Club that all the banks need to be blown up?
- Some relationships seem like prisons—Connie's marriage to Clifford, for example—while others, like her affair with Mellors, offer freedom. Is the difference simply marriage, or is it actually about the two people involved? If Connie and Mellors got married, would they soon begin to hate each other?
Chew on This
D. H. Lawrence suggests that the worst kinds of prisons are the mental ones. Physical limitations mean nothing if one's mind is free.
Lady Chatterley's Lover rejects marriage as a societal prison. It implies that Connie and Mellors should not marry.