|this picture is supposed to depict me trying to read this book without touching it|
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence -- I see now why this one was once banned material. When I decided to read this, my thinking was that it was about time for a novel, and I was in the mood for a classic. I got out my tablet and searched on the Hoopla app for a classic (Hoopla is free for me using my public library card - kudos to Marion Public Library). I had heard of the book, but I didn't know anything about it and had never seen the movie. From the title, I considered that there would likely be a love affair. However, as a classic, I figured that the descriptions and terminology would be somewhat veiled and vague, perhaps in the mode of Clarissa, which took 900 or so pages to eventually lead the reader to infer that the protagonist had been raped.
So, let me say this: This book contained the most descriptive erotic encounter(s) that I have ever read in my life. Furthermore, I have to give credit to the author for being able to write about this with not only precision, but emotion. The book made me very uncomfortable, but I am bad at quitting books.
I kept reading because I felt that the descriptions were necessary (if a little over the top) to portray one of the major themes of the book, which is that it takes both the mind and the body to be truly fulfilled. (I also thought each time that each description was probably the last). There are different types of fulfilment presented in the book, both in what is described as well as what is left out. In one touching scene, Lady Chatterley is visiting a new mother and is captivated by the infant child and its relationship to its mother. As she is unable to have children with her husband (he sustained a war injury), this is presented as one type of fulfilment that she feels she will never have. Furthermore, Lady Chatterley's husband seeks fulfilment in his writing and his work as a coal baron -- and she seeks fulfilment in other men.
As I reflect on this book, it is clear to me that these ways in which the characters sought fulfilment were not promoted or demonized by the author -- they were just means of showing how each person seeks their own satisfaction. As the characters fulfilled themselves in various ways, the readers see the consequences for everyone else -- Mr. Chatterley's position as a coal mine owner posed him against the working classes. Lady Chatterley's desire for physical fulfilment meant that she would cause emotional pain to both her husband and her lover's wife. Dissatisfaction also occurs regularly in the book -- almost whimsically as the characters each seem to resent each other and even themselves as they seek their own means of satisfaction at the expense of others and the fulfilment derived from solitude -- at times they resented what they obtained afterword even though they felt compelled to seek it in the first place.
In the end, I think each reader is left to draw their own conclusion about whether the hedonism involved with self-fulfilment is worth it or not. I didn't change my mind about any of this, but it did give me a chance to think about these things and reinforce what I already knew -- there can be fulfilment in work, exercise, projects, learning, parenting, hobbies, and even solitude -- and none of them have to or should be bothersome to anyone else. Additionally, one type of pleasure can even lead to another -- when you take care of your body, even your mind feels better and more energetic. This, in turn, leads to the mental desire to be involved in more activities, thereby benefiting your physical body in return.
As I prudish tendencies, I do not think I would recommend this book to anyone -- just read my summary and take it from there.
In case anyone is keeping track:
-I read this book on my tablet (as an ebook) via the Hoopla app provided by Marion Public Library
-I chose this book by browsing through the classics section