Lady Chatterley’s Lover Is Boring, Not Shocking

When it was first published, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in America. I doubt if  most contemporary readers would plow through D. H. Lawrence’s ponderous paragraphs to get to the passages that offended censors.

Lawrence uses some barnyard terminology when he discusses barnyard activities, but his real offense appears to have been his lyric descriptions of sex. The eroticism of those scenes is heightened by contrast to the dull, tweedy prose of the rest of the novel.

Constance and Clifford Chatterley married in 1917 a month before he shipped out for France. He came home paralyzed from the waist down.

Clifford inherits his family’s country seat and takes up writing. Constance takes care of  him.

It’s all too dull for her.

Clifford says he wouldn’t mind if Constance bore another man’s child, providing he didn’t know who the father is. That’s all the encouragement Constance needs.

She takes up with the married-but-separated groundskeeper, Mellors. Both divorce their spouses to marry and raise their child. People are shocked, not by the affair, but by her having an affair outside her class.

Lawrence said he rewrote Lady Chatterley three times, but the book feels as if he never figured out what he wanted to say. The characters are dull, the story duller.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
By D. H. Lawrence
Grove Press, 1959
368 pages
#5 on the 1959 bestseller list
My Grade: C-
© 2009 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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