The Ideologies in D. H. Lawrence’s “The Blind Man” fromEngland, My England, and Other Stories (1922)
Leading Questions • Characters: Isabel, Bertie and Maurice. The story starts with Isabel’s listening for two sounds and ends with her receiving the two men, seeing one fulfilled and one defeated. How are Bertie and Maurice set against each other? What role does Isabel play in between the two men? • Spaces and the two trips to the farm: The spaces in the story are also set in contrast to each other. How is the farm different from the house? How are Isabel’s and Bertie’s trip to the farm different from and similar to each other? • The ending: What does the men’s touching each other mean? • Symbolic meanings: the scar, light and darkness, cat, touch, flower bowl, etc.
Introduction A. structure of the text 1. Beginning: pp 400 – 403 “So Bertie was coming. . . “ 2nd par. Flashback-The background of the story 2. The Present time a. Isabel’s trip for Mauricepp. 404- 406 b. Maurice in his own room. pp. 407-8 c. Bertie’s arrival Isabel d. tea and conversation pp. 409- e. Bertie’s trip for Mauricep. 413
Human Encounters in the Modern World • Isabel and Maurice –post-trauma syndrome (depression), isolation and intimacy; p. 401 • Bertie’s fear of intimacy p. 401 • What constitute human being besides thought and action? “There is something else. . . “ • Bertie’s lie p. 414
Lawrence’s philosophy • “The brain is. . . the terminal instrument of the dynamic consciousness. It transmutes what is a certain flux into a certain fixed cypher. . . The mind is the instrument of intruments; it is not a creative reality.” Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious 247 • “For the blood is the substance of the soul, and of the deepest consciousness. It is by blood that we are: and it is by the heart and liver that we live and move and have our being, are one and undivided. (Apropos 111) • “The blood also thinks, inside a man, darkly and ponderously. . .
Lawrence’s philosophy (2) • modern – “We always want a ‘conclusion,’ an end.” • Primitive –having mythical and symbolic consciousness. • “To them a thought was a complete state of feeling awareness, a cumulative feeling, a deepening thing, in which feeling deepened into feeling in consciousness till there was a sense of fullness. (Apocalypse 80)
I.The primitive man vs. the intellectual man • A. Maurice and Bertie’s Differences 1. Occupation 2. Appearance: M p. 406; B 409 3. Characteristics: M p. 407; B 410 B. Maurice: Blood ConsciousnessC. animal life vs. intellectual life; darkness vs. light The stable p. 405 -- farmer’s house 404-- Isabel’s house 406
I.The primitive man vs. the intellectual man • Maurice: symbolic meanings associated with him– the cat (409, 413) and his touch (405, 407) • Touches of the flower bowl 409- 410 • The final “touches” –to know each other • Is Maurice really a primitive man? How about the treament of the farmer’s family?
Ideologies (1): “primitive man” • Lawrence’s contradictory ideology of the working class and primitive man. Sympathetic with the workers, Fascinated by primitive culture Uses them to express his belief in blood consciousness without really understanding them. In between working-class and middle-class ideologies; Does not agree with worker’s strikes.
II.Ideologies (2): Homosexuality • A. Maurice and Berties’s relationship • symbols of sexuality: e.g. stable, shaking hands, pulping sweet roots, the stroking of the gray cat • Lawrence’s disagreement with homosexuality
II.D.H Lawrence's misogyny presented on Isabel • stereotype of women's pregenancy • the scene of the reflection in a mirror • a sense of possession -- burden
Dualism in Lawrence • Dark/light; blood/mind; animal/insect; • Moisture/dry; sensuality/intellect; • Sun/moon; man/woman; male autonomy/community
Terry Eagleton’s Views: Lawrence’s contradictions about organicism • “What Lawrence’s work dramatises, in fact, is a contradiction within the Romantic humanist tradition itself, between its corporate and individualist components. . . . [Lawrence’s] social organicism decisively rejects the atomistic, mechanistic ideologies of industrial capitalism, yet at the same time subsumes the values of bourgeois liberal tradition: sympathy, intimacy, compassion, the centrality of the ‘personal’ (p 158)
Lawrence’s Views: organicism (2) • These contradictions come to a crisis in Lawrence with the First World War, the most traumatic event of his life. The war signifies the definitive collapse of the liberal humanist heritage, with its benevolistic idealism and ‘personal’ values, clearing the way for the ‘dark gods’ of discipline, action, hierarchy, individual separateness, mystical impersonality—in short, for a social order which rejects the ‘female’ principle of compassion and sexual intimacy for the ‘male’ principle of power. (158)