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July 19, 2013

Essay on Theme of Love in Literature

11:09 AM
Theme of Love
The theme of love permeates through the literature of English and others as well. In this paper, I will be comparing and contrasting the theme of love explored in the D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Lolita written by Vladimir Nabokov. Both the novels explore the theme of love by putting it in different contexts and perspective. It should be mentioned here that D.H Lawrence was an avid supporter of the theories of Sigmund Freud while Nabokov mocked such notions in his works.  The major difference that one finds at the outset is the treatment of the theme of love in relation to society being dealt with differently. 
 In Lolita, Humbert feels for a boundless passion. He is both loving and sexually obsessed by the young American. Idle intellectual, he has no social constraint and sinks slowly into a relationship which is more ambiguous. For his part, played with Lolita Humbert unaware that it opens the door to a relationship she does not control and which will end in a nightmare for her. Humbert was also destroyed in order to live the story.

 The novel lays an exclusive stress on Humbert’s obsessive drive for sex which results in violence. Humbert, on the whole, gets what he desires. For example, he shares his bed with Lolita and kills Quilty. Nevertheless, it is impossible for him to fulfill her desires. This is something that we also see in the Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Madness often ensues, a condition Humbert has a history of, as when Valeria cheated on him. He occasionally concedes his insanity and calls himself a "madman." Humbert also releases these unsatisfied desires through other forms; he cries several times in the novel in Lolita's presence, and even does so during intercourse.
Lolita explores other themes that the relationship between the two characters. It discovers the difference between Europe and the United States in the 1950s. Humbert is the archetype of a refined European, while the entourage of Lolita (Lolita and itself) is the epitome of average Americans, the ironic eye and shifted Humbert describes as the difference between the two cultures. Lolita is also a female incarnation of the myth of Lilith (including pronunciation, described by Nabokov, is the same:, as a figure of the woman you cannot marry and love illicitly.
Nabokov had already explored this theme in a poem published thirty years ago, entitled Lilith, whose heroine is a girl coitus interrupts: again, this is one aspect of the figure of Lilith, as a woman's sexuality.
Intertextual games are also abounding in the novel and it also provides a reflection on culture (literary and pictorial). Clare Quilty and Humbert submit it to a treasure hunt based on many cultural references, game in which the private detective hired by Humbert is largely unsuccessful.
As opposed to D.H Lawrence’s work, in Lolita, there are also some of Nabokov attacks against what he calls "Freudien quackery." Humbert mocks all psychoanalysts and their techniques. The last word of the author indicates that the word of the beginning assigned to a doctor is there against psychoanalysts.
Overall, if Humbert had not been sexually shocking, he would make a very attractive, sensitive, funny and stylish character. This is consistent with many situations staged by Nabokov: a great character surrounded by mediocre, mediocrity is represented here by the bland Charlotte Haze, the decadent Quilty, the fool Gaston, low Valerie and to some extent Lolita herself: although it is anything to possess it, the universe of superficial and disgusting the girl uncomfortable.
Humbert thus resembles John Shade, Sebastian Knight, Van Veen and others. Each of these characters is also not an immaculate genius, and if Humbert is flawed, all other heroes of Nabokov have flaws that spoil their abominable common virtues: sensitivity, humor, culture, creativity, passion, qualities that are believed to be that of Nabokov himself.
Nabokov makes us feel the most refined and deepest of all, the absolute nonsense that lies behind the so-called "normality". And it is passion, mad love, and obsession, by definition uncontrollable feelings that reveal best the subjective nature of truth, of all reality. For Nabokov, finally, the madman, the pervert, the obsessed, are only variations of extremes. Authentic love leads the subject to make decisions which are inevitably at odds vis-à-vis the laws and standards.(Connolly, 165)
The novel “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” written by D.H Lawrence was met with sharp criticism from different segments of the society for its sexual overtones. Intensified by the experiences of the novel's characters, Lady Chatterley's Lover comes up with techniques to deal with the pressing demands and norms of the modern society. The characters are compelled to retreat from society engaging in phallic sex. However, the function of these techniques is challenging as phallic sex dictates the rejection of social convention while withdrawing from society conflicts with phallic sex.
Lady Chatterley is the major protagonist of the novel. Prior to her marriage, she is merely Constance Reid, an intellectual and social progressive from a Scottish bourgeois family, the daughter of Sir Malcolm and the sister of Hilda. When she weds Clifford Chatterley, a minor nobleman, Constance as she is identified throughout the novel, Conies naturally assumes the title of Lady Chatterley. This is precisely the point when her conflicts with society caused by her free will (the choice to marry a man below her status) begins. The novel records Connie's maturation as a woman and as a sensual being. She begins to spurn her heartless and bloodless husband after falling in love with Oliver Mellors, the gamekeeper on her husband's estate.
She abandons her husband and conceives a child with Mellors. Commentators identify this as a transition from the heartless and bloodless world to a vicarious and profound bond entrenched in sensuality and sexual fulfillment. His work advocates a return to "primitive sacred."
Lawrence in this novel expresses his rejection of Puritan England of the 20s. He writes ironically at the beginning of the novel: "The conversations, discussions, here is what mattered: the carnal knowledge and love were nothing more than a return to instinct, and even a sort of fallout. This case was indeed a sex report of slavery of the oldest and most sordid."(Lawrence, 345)
Clifford Chatterley is Connie's husband. Clifford Chatterley is a youthful, handsome baronet who becomes paralyzed from the waist down during World War I. This leaves him as an impotent man. Consequently, he goes on to become a successful writer and then a business man but he remains disinterested in keeping a passionate love with his wife. The gap between them further widens because he is merely obsessed with material success and fame.
In my opinion, their relationship can be analyzed as a conflict between sexual freedom and economic liberty. Lawrence, through their relationship, successfully advocates the greater sexual freedom and reinforces this notion by involving the analysis of social classes. The union of an aristocrat and a commoner is the most striking symbol.
It also delivers throughout the narrative, acerbic social critique of the exploitation of mine (his father was himself a mine) by the aristocracy: "It was a world of iron and coal, the cruelty of iron and of coal smoke and the ceaseless and endless greed that controlled everything. Nothing but greed, greed and endless controlled everything.”(Lawrence, 124)
In conclusion, it may safely be said that these two novels are at odds yet seem to share some similarities with each other. D.H Lawrence was fascinated by the insight that Freud provided into psychoanalysis while Nabokov was against all psychoanalysis. However, both the characters are sexually obsessive and defy the norms of their respective societies to seek fulfillment.

Work Cited
Connolly, Julian W.. The Cambridge Companion to Nabokov. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Essays on the life and novels. 2005 p.165
Lawrence, D.H  “Lady Chatterley’s Publishing 2008 p.345


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