Discussion Questions

West End Library

Discussion Questions

"Women in Love"

Women in Love book cover

Please join us for the scheduled talk on D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love to be held Wednesday, April 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the small meeting room on the 2nd floor of the West End Library. The talk is fourth in the series on the theme of love and strife in literature and is supported by the West End Library Friends. The presenter is Ori Z. Soltes, resident scholar in theology and fine arts at Georgetown University. Discussion questions are:

1. In a reprise of the tangled matter of who is in love/strife with whom in Corneille’s Le Cid, who is who, relationship-wise, in Lawrence’s novel? Who are the key figures and who the subsidiary figures?

2. How does Lawrence intertwine and distinguish between different kinds of love relationships: siblings, parents and children, friends, lovers?

3. How specifically, from time to time, at least, does Lawrence, in describing his characters’ feelings for each other, overtly interweave love and strife?

4. How does Lawrence apply the theme of love and death to the theme of love and strife (and vice versa)?  If you limit your answer to “Chapter 24” you are not thinking enough!

5. How does Lawrence integrate the issue of the traditional folk-view of the relationship between the (full) moon and madness (see: moonstruck, lunatic, etc) into his narrative?

6. What is the time and place setting of the novel, and how does that affect the narrative?

7. (Continuing the issue of question #6): to what extent are the complications that beset Lawrence’s characters a function of the expectations of such characters in terms of gender roles?

8. (Further continuing the issue of question #5—and thinking back to Le Cid): to what extent are the complications/expectations a function of social and economic class or even of race?

9. Bonus question continuing the matter of the previous three questions: it is sometimes a truism that a novel reflects elements and aspects of and from the life of the novelist: to what extent does this truism apply to the characters and narrative aspects of Women in Love?

10. Another bonus question of sorts: if you are familiar with Albert Camus’ L’Etranger (if you are not, be patient and I will help you out on this one!), consider the end of Women in Love, specifically Gerald’s act of death-dealing and the response of its surviving characters to the death of Gerald in comparison with the death-related images of Camus’ Mersault at the beginning and the end (and middle) of L’Etranger, with regard to the theme of love (and strife)—and perhaps, existentialism and the absurd..