I meant to post just a day late. Yesterday. Considering that Thursday was Thanksgiving, I figured y’all would forgive me.
But there was a bar involved. Someone’s birthday party. Shots containing Red Bull. Partying like it was 1999 (this fits, because we were actually at the bar we spent New Year’s Eve 1999/2000 at, even though we did not in fact party like we did on the actual New Year’s Eve). Denny’s. Coffee. And then a small road trip today that had nothing to do with the party/bar/figurative 1999 partying. Anyway, that’s where the extra day went and I apologize.
I’m going to talk about the first part of The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence. I say first part because I did not finish it yet. It’s a dense book, as I remember Sons and Lovers being. I can’t tell you whose favorite book it was (but Dave, I only have 4 boxes of books left! Next week I will tell everyone who loved The Rainbow!).
So far, I am actually really liking The Rainbow. I read Sons and Lovers in college and didn’t really enjoy it so I chose The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence with a slight amount of trepidation. But, either I have matured enough to enjoy Lawrence’s writing, or Rainbow is just a better book overall.
I’m going to go into list format again I think, just because I like it.
1. I can see why some people accuse D.H. Lawrence of being “dirty”. The first three pages of The Rainbow are merely describing the land that this family lives on and the description of the land is sexier than any description of a hero or heroine in a romance novel that I’ve ever read.
“The women were different. On them too was the drowse of blood-intimacy, calves sucking and hens running together in droves, and young geese palpitating in the hand while the food was pushed down their throttle. But the women looked out from the heated, blind intercourse of farm-life, to the spoken world beyond.”
“It was enough for the men, that the earth heaved and opened its furrows to them, that the wind blew to dry the wet wheat, and set the young ears of corn wheeling freshly round about;….so much exchange and interchange they had with these, that they lived full and surcharged, their senses full fed, their faces always turned to the heat of the blood, staring into the sun, dazed with looking towards the source of generation, unable to turn round.”
2. So far the story is about a man, who is the youngest of the current generation of the Brangwens, who grows up and inherits the property through process of elimination. And even though he is in his mid 20s he mopes and whinges about a bit like a teenager. His first experience with sex is with a prostitute and his inability to reconcile sex with a prostitute and what a woman he would want to wed in his mind causes him to go into blind drunks. Until a Polish immigrant woman moves into the area with her young daughter.
3. Then the story switches to the young daughter, Anna, even though Tom Brangwen and his Polish wife have two of their own children. She gets older. And at 17 falls in love with another Brangwen, Tom’s nephew.
4. Lawrence perfectly captured the almost indifference or inattention that some married couples fall into.
“You do not want to be with me any more,’ she said. It startled him. How did she know this truth? He thought it was his secret. “Yi,” he said. “You want to find something else,’ she said. He did not answer. “Did he?” he asked himself. “You should not want so much attention,’ she said. ‘You are not a baby.’ “I’m not grumbling,”he said. Yet he knew he was. “You think you have not enough,” she said. “How enough” “You think you have not enough in me. But how do you know me? What do you do to make me love you?”. He was flabbergasted. “I never said I hadn’t enough in you,” he replied. “I didn’t know you wanted making to love me. What do you want?” “You don’t make it good between us any more, you are not interested. You do not make me want you.” “And you don’t make me want you, do you now?” There was a silence. They were such strangers. “Would you like to have another woman?” she asked. His eyes grew round, he did not know where he was. How could she, his own wife, say such a thing? But she sat there, small and foreign and separate. It dawned upon him she did not consider herself his wife, except in so far as they agreed. She did not feel she had married him. At any rate, she was willing to allow he might want another woman. A gap, a space opened before him.”
5. He does young love really well too, one of the “steamiest” first kisses I’ve read in a long time, between Anna and her “beloved” Brangwen.
“She set her sheaves against the shock. He saw her hands glisten among the spray of grain. And he dropped his sheaves and he trembled as he took her in his arms. He had overtaken her, and it was his privilege, to kiss her. She was sweet and fresh with the night air, and sweet with the scent of train. And the whole rhythm of him beat into his kisses, and still he pursued her, in his kisses, and still she was not quite overcome. He wondered over the moonlight on her nose! All the moonlight upon her, all the darkness within her! All the night in his arms, darkness and shine, he possessed of it all! All the night for him now, to unfold, to venture within, all the mystery to be entered, all the discovery to be made. Trembling with keen triumph, his heart was white as a star as he drove his kisses nearer. “My love!” she called, in a low voice from afar. The low sound seemed to call to him from far off, under the moon, to him who was unaware. He stopped, quivered, and listened. “My love,” came again the low, plaintive call, like a bird unseen in the night. He was afraid. HIs heart quivered and broke. He was stopped. “Anna,” he said, as if he answered her from a distance, unsure. “My love.” And he drew near, and she drew near. “Anna,” he said, in wonder and birth pain of love. “My love,” she said, her voice growing rapturous. And they kissed on the mouth, in rapture and suprise, long, real kisses. The kiss lasted, there among the moonlight. He kissed her again, and she kissed him. And again they were kissing together. Till something happened in him, he was strange. He wanted her. He wanted her exceedingly. She was something new. They stood there folded, suspended in the night. And his whole being quivered with suprise, as from a blow. He wanted her, and he wanted to tell her so. But the shock was too great to him. He had never realized before. He trembled with irritation and unusedness, he did not know what to do. He held her more gently, gently, much more gently. The conflict was gone by. And he was glad, and breathless, and almost in tears. But he knew he wanted her. something fixed in him for ever. He was hers. And he was very glad and afraid. He did not know what to do, as they stood there in the open, moonlit field. He looked through her hair at the moon, which seemed to swim liquid bright.”
6. It seems almost like the Brangwen family is the main character of the book rather than any member or member(s). It allows Lawrence the luxury of skipping in between Brangwens to describe different events or to talk about that he might not have if the main character was either just Tom or just Anna or one of Tom’s other Brangwen relatives.
7. Stay tuned. Next week I’ll tell you what I thought of how it all ends up 🙂
8. Then two weeks after that, I’ll talk about Women in Love, the 2nd book about the Brangwen family.
9. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! And aren’t sick of leftovers yet!
10. Have a great rest of your weekend! 🙂