wrote Lawrence in his "Apropos of Lady Chatterley's Lover", but the idea of the body had been well in place in his writing for over a decade by then. In The Rainbow, we have a description of Skrebensky attempting to seduce Ursula, in which, "temerously, his hands went over her, over the salt compact brilliance of her body...If he could but net her brilliant, cold, salt-burning body in the soft iron of his own hands, net her, capture her, hold her down, how madly he would enjoy her... obstinately, all his flesh burning and corroding, as if he were invaded by some consuming, scathing poison, still he persisted". Experience is firmly rooted in the physical, the mind apparently lumbering behind the rapid sensuousness of the body, only later to make sense of the present. There is an idea that beneath our rational, sentient self lies a more primeval, bestial self which takes over in moments of supreme agitation - the body will out.


The characters in The Rainbow seek to define themselves as individuals in a number of different ways, but at bottom they all try to find their sense of self in religion. Yet Lawrence's attitude towards Christianity is highly ambivalent, for even while Will finds an initial satisfaction in the cathedral, Anna is chafing under a sense of having to let go of her individual will. Similarly, Ursula feels restricted when she tries to behave according to Christian codes, for "there was something unclean and degrading about this humble side of Christianity". Symbolically, Anna experiences a huge relief when she catches sight of the gargoyles in the church and, "these sly little faces peeped out of the grand side of the cathedral like something that knew better. They knew quite well... that the cathedral was not absolute... apart from the lift and spring of the great impulse towards the altar, these little faces had separate wills, separate motions, separate knowledge, which rippled back in defiance of the tide". Lawrence became increasingly antagonistic towards Christianity as he grew older, attacking such ethics as universal love, arguing that if you love everyone, then really you love no one. He was allergic to anything which subordinated individual lives to a larger purpose, exposing Skrebensky's communism, expressed in the belief that, "every man must give himself to support the state, and so labour for the greatest good of all" by saying that, "the highest good of the community is an abstraction from the many, and is not the many themselves". It sometimes appears, in fact, as though all Lawrence's beliefs change strikingly throughout his novels, which are vehicles for him to articulate his ideas, often in their most extreme form. He picks up ideas, explores them and then regularly rejects them. Perhaps Ursula herself is a reflection of her creator's perfectionism for, "she was full of rejection, of refusal Always, always, she was spitting out other mouth the ash and grit of disillusionment of falsity."

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