The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence was our read for November and one in which we decided to split the book in half, therefore our discussion and text below will only include up to the end of Chapter Nine.
So what did we think of this book, of which I’m ashamed to say is the first Lawrence we have covered in over 5 years of the book club (and being based in his home town as well!)
I saw the discussion being split into two halves; firstly about what has been covered in the text and secondly about Lawrence himself.
For those who had read the book previously, there was a definite change towards the book, preferring it more as a younger person, perhaps experiencing it with the emotions of youth?
There was a definite elusion towards sex and a whole discussion proceeded whether this was not as obvious because of the times or because people weren’t as descriptive about such things.
The repitition was also discussed as this seemed a common fact in the first part of the novel and was there to emulate life at that time.
There was the whole nature inspired text, where men where soaked in the tradition of the farming and women where willing to evolve with the changes. There was the whole inner space/outer space, where characters wanted to better themselves but didn’t know how to do it and women were satisfied in their own surroundings.
A discussion was had about the validity of the working class people within the text. It was decided that the main characters were infact top of the working class, if not lower middle class, due to the land they owned. However, in order for anyone to move from this, in was in fact impossible.
Lawrence as a writer and his explanation of relationships was deemed as very good. He had a powerful way of getting to the essence of relationships, to get you thinking. His description narratives are what he his famed for and as readers, we felt we had no more affinity for him, but appreciate he has shown the world what it felt like to live in this area at that time.
His perspective is different to other writers in that it feels likes he is using a ‘spyglass’ to look at other people’s relationships and in a page he can change the emotions of a character.
If you compare Lawrence to Hardy, who was writing at roughly the same time, Lawrence shows more emotional depth in his writing.
Unfortunately Lawrence is tarnished with the sexual tone of his books and people locally, clearly didn’t want association to him because of this. However, as a writer, Lawrence is still being discussed 100 years after his books were published, which surely shows the that as a reader, we perhaps need to pull back the outer layers of his books, to discover what lies beneath. How many of today’s so called novelists will still be discussed at such length in another 100 years time?