Lady Chatterley's Lover
Lady Chatterley's Lover is a novel by D. H. Lawrence written in 1928. Printed privately in Florence in 1928, it was not printed in the United Kingdom until 1960 (other than in an underground edition issued by Inky Stephensen's Mandrake Press in 1929). Lawrence considered calling this book Tenderness at one time and made significant alterations to the original manuscript in order to make it palatable to readers. It has been published in three different versions. The publication of the book caused a scandal due to its explicit sex scenes, including previously banned four-letter words, and perhaps because the lovers were a working-class male and an aristocratic female. The story is said to have originated from events in Lawrence's own unhappy domestic life, and he took inspiration for the settings of the book from Ilkeston in Derbyshire where he lived for a while. According to some critics the fling of Lady Ottoline Morrell with "Tiger", a young stonemason who came to carve plinths for her garden statues, also influenced the story.
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Notice what the author reveals in the first paragraph. How does this help set a tone for the novel? As you continue reading, be sure to note the clues that Lawrence gives regarding setting and characters.
During which event is this story taking place?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Which of the following best characterizes Clifford?
Llyod George was one of the great reforming British Chancellor's of the 20th century. He was Prime Minster from 1916-1922. (This annotation contains an image)
How would you characterize the relationship between Clifford and Connie? Consider what you have learned about the characters, what you know about how their relationship began, and the state it is in at this point in the novel.
Colliers are coal miners. Based on the description of Wragby Hall and its inhabitants, how does Tevershall village seem to compare? What is the sentiment between the inhabitants of each?
What does the reaction of the miners' wives suggest about the community?
Watch the video below to learn more about characterization. How is Lawrence using both direct and indirect characterization to reveal aspects of the main characters? (This annotation contains a video)
What can you infer about Clifford?
Notice how Lawrence reveals that Clifford's family may not think that highly of Connie. Even after stating that they "treated her quite kindly," how do you learn that they might not actually like her that much?
What might these details about Connie foreshadow?
What does this characterization of success reveal about its role in the story? Its value to the characters?
Which of the following literary devices does Lawrence employ in the highlighted paragraph?
It was not uncommon in larger estates or amongst aristocratic families for husbands and wives to have separate quarters. Many even had their own bedrooms as well as parlors or sitting rooms.
What is the mood of this scene between Connie and Michaelis?
Consider how Connie compares Clifford and Michaelis. What does she mean when she says that Michaelis went boldly where Clifford was only able to creep "a few timid places"?
Use the define feature to look up the word abeyance. Which of the following is a synonym of the word abeyance as it is used in the highlighted sentence?
Mackerel and herring are very populous fish species that are easy to come by and eaten around the world. How does Lawrence's use of this metaphor reinforce social strata and Connie's predicament?
What does the highlighted statement reveal about Hammond's attitude regarding his wife Julia?
Consider the conversation between these men. Obviously, the men are revealing much about their privileges over women. What else might Lawrence be saying about these men, or this aristocratic society, by including a conversation like this?
What does Clifford mean by hors de combat?
An allusion is a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance. It does not describe in detail the person or thing to which it refers. It is just a passing comment and the writer expects the reader to possess enough knowledge to spot the allusion and grasp its importance in a text. What allusions does Lawrence include here?
Identify the metaphor Dukes uses in the highlighted section to elaborate on the discussion of the "mental life." Explain how this metaphor conveys his position.
Bolshevism is the political ideology that preceded Communism in Russia in the early 1900s. Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks (meaning "one of the majority in Russian), a group that considered itself a champion of the working class.
Which of the following can you infer about the men conversing in this section?
Consider what the war has done to the wooded area, to the pheasants, to Clifford. Why might the author have included these details? Why does Clifford feel so connected to the wood?
"The place remembered, still remembered" is an example of
Watch the following video on characters. As you continue reading and learning about the characters, ask yourself whether each character is static or dynamic. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following groups of words best foreshadows the role Mellors might play in the book?
Despite the fact that Connie has been living in this situation for some time and that she has been having an affair with another man, it is not until this moment that "a dissatisfaction had started in her." What has prompted this change?
Which of the following is an antonym for equanimity?
Connie is referring to success and notoriety when she is thinking about Clifford and Michaelis' "prostitution to the bitch-goddess." What does this say about her character? What does it say about what Clifford and Michaelis value? Consider each character's behavior behind the scenes as well.
Which of the following best conveys Connie's thoughts or feelings regarding Michaelis' proposal?
An oracle is a priest or priestess who, in ancient Greece, would give prophesies that were said to have been given to them from the Gods. What does it say about the relationship between Connie and Tommy Dukes that he was "more or less her oracle"?
What can you infer about the character of Tommy Dukes?
Methuselah is a character in the Bible reported to have lived the longest of any man. This allusion, or reference to a character outside of the text, is also exaggeration or hyperbole.
How does this incident between Mellors and his daughter, Connie, characterize him?
In what ways does the author call attention the differences between the Chatterleys and the inhabitants of Tevershall?
Which of the following literary devices is used in the highlighted sentence?
What do you think has caused Connie to work to harden herself so? Do you think she really believes in what she is telling herself regarding passion, desire, and love?
What can you predict about Connie's visit to the keeper's cottage? Consider the mood that the author creates in this passage as well as Connie's previous encounters with Mellors.
Watch the video below to learn more about theme. What themes do you see developing in this story? (This annotation contains a video)
How does Connie feel towards Mellors? What might he symbolize to her? Consider their interactions thus far.
How does Connie assess her own failing beauty? Notice the ways that beauty is characterized: sloping, slumberous, round stillness, brightness. It also seems as if Connie characterizes her thinness as emptiness and slackened. What do these images tell you about what it is that Connie might really be struggling with?
Why doesn't Connie ever go away from Wragby?
This comment, though probably not meant to be ironic, is quite ironic. Can you think of anything that Clifford has denied Connie?
What does this conversation reflect about the attitudes the upper classes have towards love and happiness?
How does Lawrence use language here to characterize Hilda? What tone or attitude does he portray her with?
What might it be that is causing Clifford to boil with rage?
What does this suggest about Connie and Clifford's communication? Why do you suppose Connie has not spoken to Clifford about this herself? What does this tell you about their relationship?
Which of the following stereotypes did Ivy Bolton defy?
Watch the video below to learn how to "mine below the surface" of literature in order to find deeper meaning. Lawrence has written a complex and intriguing account of a handful of characters' lives and relationships. How can you implement some of the strategies discussed in the video to better understand the meanings that might lie beneath the surface of this text? (This annotation contains a link)
How has the arrival of Mrs. Bolton changed Connie? Use evidence from the text in your analysis.
Persephone is the Greek goddess of the Underworld. The daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone was abducted by Hades and forced to spend half of the year int he underworld. Persephone is associated with Spring and rebirth because she would come to spend part of the year on earth with her mother Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. How does this allusion make use of Persephone's symbolic meaning? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following literary devices does Lawrence employ in the highlighted section?
Why is it significant that Lawrence remarks that Mellors's behavior "touched Connie's womb"? What is happening between them?
How does Lawrence use dialogue here to express each character's emotions?
Watch the video below to learn more about symbolism in literature. Are there any symbols at work in this story? (This annotation contains a video)
How is this ironic? Doesn't this seem to be Connie's very own state? What does this mean about her and Mellors?
Use the define feature to look up the definition for ravish. Which of the following definitions of the word is most likely the reason for Connie's response?
Watch the first minute or two of the video below to get a taste of the Derbyshire accent and to see some video of this area in England. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Mellors propose to give Connie the use of the hut and to move his work elsewhere?
Hyacinths are early Spring flowers that come out when the weather is still quite cold. What does the interchange about the flowers between Clifford and Mrs. Bolton suggest about the nature of their relationship? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following groups of words best conveys the mood of this section?
How does Lawrence use the lens of Connie to reveal the growing intimacy between Clifford and Mrs. Bolton? Consider Lawrence's diction. How does Connie reveal her status in society through her thoughts about Mrs. Bolton?
What does the highlighted sentence reveal about the perspective of the author? Of the characters?
What seems to be the attitude towards Socialism or Bolshevism? How can you tell? Does each group share this attitude?
How does Mrs. Bolton characterize the younger generation?
Why are the women in Clifford's life so influential to his concept of himself as a man? What does it say about him, as well as each of the women, that they affect him the way they do?
How would Clifford define a "man's victory"?
Section One Quiz
Lawrence's use of diction here creates a tone of desperation, a sense that Clifford fears Connie's power over his life greatly, even as he is trying to gain some sort of power over himself through his oversight of the mine. What does this section set the characters up for? Based on this attitude about the two characters, what can you guess may happen between them?
Which of the following best characterizes Clifford's and Connie's relationship at this point?
In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature. What is archetypal about Spring? What might it represent here?
What is it that causes Connie to feel this "female forlornness"?
Listen to a reading of this section of the book. Now that you have read this very climactic moment in the story, consider how it is different when you hear it. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Mellors mean when he says that he has begun life again? How has this encounter with Connie "broken [him] open again"?
Read the article in the link below. As you read, are you surprised by what you learn about the novel? What does the author say the novel is really about? (This annotation contains a link)
Think back to the article you just read about the explicit nature and subsequent banning of Lady Chatterley's Lover. What does the article claim the novel is really about?
Consider how Lawrence uses dialogue to create a mood of apprehension or timidity. Where else can you detect the purposeful use of dialogue, descriptive passages, or figurative language? How do these choices contribute to your understanding of the themes you see developing in the novel?
Which of the following themes does the conversation between Mellors and Connie highlight?
What do Connie's thoughts during this encounter reveal about her? What does she think about Mellors's passion? What is happening to her internally?
What is significant about the use of the word "resented" to describe Connie's feelings? What does she resent?
What do the words "plunged" and "slipped" suggest about Connie? In what way could she be considered to be falling?
How is Bell's reaction to Connie symbolic?
A "crier" was an officer of the court responsible for making public pronouncements. What is ironic about Mrs. Flint's statement?
The highlighted section is an example of
Think back to Connie's affair with Michaelis. She seemed often frustrated by their sexual encounters. Here, Mellors tells her that they have "both come off at the same time." Connie clearly seems to feel differently about Mellors than she has for any other man. Is it sexual desire that drives her or something deeper? What do you think drives Mellors?
Use the define feature to look up the word wistfully. Which of the following would be the best synonym for wistfully?
Racine was a French playwright known for his tragedies. Why is it significant that Connie chooses Racine? (This annotation contains an image)
In the highlighted section, Connie is
Watch the video below to learn more about tone and mood. What mood permeates this section? (This annotation contains a video)
What do Ted and Lady Chatterley's unknown lover have in common?
Which of the following does Lawrence employ in the highlighted sentence?
Notice how smoothly Lawrence shifts perspectives. The use of the third-person omniscient narrator in this novel allows for smooth transitions from the interior thoughts and feelings of one character to another. Be sure not to get confused when these changes in perspective occur.
Why would Mrs. Bolton feel triumphant? Consider her relationships with each of the other characters in your analysis.
What does Mrs. Bolton mean when she says, "Wouldn't shame it, neither"?
What effect has the gift of the box had upon Mrs. Bolton?
Why do you suppose it is assumed that the child Connie may or may not even have would be a boy? What does this reveal about attitudes regarding gender and power during this time period?
______________ is most likely the factor driving Connie to invite Clifford to Europe with her.
The steel workers that Connie is watching, much like the colliers of Tevershall, represent the masses of the lower class. The image below, taken in post WWI England at Gresford Pit Colliery, pictures the same type of people Connie is looking at with disdain. What causes her to feel this way towards the lower classes? What recent events make her feel more or less connected to this class? (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted paragraph contains
Watch the following video about how themes emerge in literature. What theme does the highlighted section build upon? (This annotation contains a video)
Explain how this chapter, particularly Connie's musings over the changes taking place in the country, contribute to a developing theme in the novel. Be sure to name the theme and to use examples from the text in your analysis.
With what tone does Connie relate to Clifford her appraisal of the tea at Miss Bentley's? How does this make characterize Connie?
The highlighted allusion to William Shakespeare's play Julius Cesar comes from Cassius, a nobleman, who is trying to convince Brutus that Cesar should not be allowed to become the monarch of Rome. This phrase has been interpreted to mean that fate is not what drives men to their decisions and actions, but rather the human condition. Explain the significance of this allusion.
Why do you suppose Connie asks this of Mrs. Bolton?
Which of the following best describes the mood of this chapter at its start?
Mellors seems to have a good understanding of himself. What do you think Connie's reaction to his admissions of volatility will be?
What reaction does Connie expect from Mellors when she tells him she will be gone for a month? Which clues in the text can you cite to support your answer?
Why does Mellors refer to Connie in this way? Is he being playful or derisive?
What is the effect of the highlighted sentence in the story?
As you begin reading this rather explicit scene, consider the way Lawrence uses language to express the physical and emotional layers of the act of sex. Where can you see uses of figurative language or other literary devices that enrich the moment, making it more than just a simple sex scene?
_________________ does not seem to bother Connie during sex with Mellors.
Why do you suppose it is only now that Connie imitates or speaks to him in his dialect? Has she just grown more confident or close to him? Does the intimacy of the previous scene make her feel like "one of him?"
How does this chapter seem to present a climax to the story?
Based on Clifford's opinions, what kind of politician do you think he'd be today? Consider his ideology behind public assistance and class status. Would he be liberal, conservative, moderate? Would he agree more with the tenets of capitalism or socialism?
Compare and contrast Connie's and Clifford's perspectives on class status, poverty, and industrialization. Use evidence from the text in your analysis.
Is there such a gulf between the ruling and the servant class in this novel? Does it exist between everyone? With whom do both Connie and Clifford defy this rule?
Visit the website in the link below to read the poem form which this allusion comes. As you read, think about Lawrence's inclusion of this reference. (This annotation contains a link)
The poem "O Captain, My Captain" is said to be an elegy to the American President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a President known for his fight to end slavery in the US. After reading the poem in the previous annotation, explain why you think Lawrence uses this allusion.
Considering the image below, do you think Clifford's and Connie's assessments of the mole are accurate? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is the most likely reason for Clifford's stubbornness regarding the chair?
What underlying knowledge do you have that helps you understand what the chair and Clifford's struggle might actually symbolize? How does this help you understand his frustration and anger?
How does Clifford feel at this moment? Why?
What view point does Connie reveal here through her use of stereotypes? Considering this is pre-WWII Europe, does Connie's perspective seem out of place?
Use the define feature to look up the word demure. Which of the following is an antonym for demure?
Mellors's assessment of Clifford is both literal and figurative. Clifford is physically incompetent because of injuries, but he is also lacking in courage and strength as a man.
What emotion does the dog represent?
Watch the following video to learn more about tension. As the conversation builds between Connie and Mellors, consider how the tension adds to the mood. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the meaning of the highlighted metaphor?
Who is Connie really asking about here?
Read the article in the link below from the New York Times. How does the article explore Lawrence's uses of sex and sexuality in his writing? (This annotation contains a link)
In the New York Times article you just read, the author claims that D.H. Lawrence's fiction "abounds with overheated evocations of male beauty and male bonding." Where in Lady Chatterley's Lover do you see this? Does the article make a reasonable claim based on the novel you are reading now?
Why do you suppose there are so many references to snakes in this chapter?
How does Mellors characterize women?
Remember that article you just read? Does Lawrence go into excess detail about male beauty here, or does it fall in line with the details given about the female body?
The highlighted section includes
This is a turning point in the novel. Up until recently Connie couldn't bear the thought of leaving Clifford. What has changed that she now wants to leave him and live with Mellors?
Why does Connie make mention of the books? What might they symbolize?
Section Two Quiz
What does this simile-allusion do to your understanding of Connie's emotional state? How does Connie see herself and Mellors?
In his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster claims that rain in literature is never just rain. Foster writes that rain is not only a plot device, but is "restorative," "cleansing," and "transformative." What does the rain in this chapter symbolize?
Re-read Mellors' speech. How would you summarize his philosophy? How does his impassioned speech compare to Connie and Clifford's viewpoints regarding class structures in society.
What is Clifford referring to when he says "the Colonies"?
What does the highlighted line reveal about what Mellors wants in a woman?
Use the define feature to look up the word wistfully. Which of the following is a synonym for wistfully?
What does Connie mean by this statement? In what ways will they "know better" where they are when she gets back?
Where is the irony in this conversation about the plan for Connie to spend the night with Mellors before she leaves for Europe?
Why is this man's most dangerous moment?
Given what Mrs. Bolton knows, why do you suspect she has come to the keeper's cabin looking for Connie? What can you predict might happen next?
This marks quite a change in Connie. What do you think of the rain storm now?
What is Mrs. Bolton's impression of Connie at this moment?
Whose sentiments does this speech about the life of the body, the beauty of the body remind you of?
What do you, the reader, know that makes Connie's statements all the more poignant?
What does Hilda's reaction to Mellors suggest about her?
Use the define feature to look up the word gratuitous. Which of the following is an anatomy for gratuitous?
What theme, that has been building in the novel, do you see in this exchange between Connie and Hilda. Are you surprised that Hilda, given Connie's description of her, does not side with Connie? What might this foretell for Connie and Mellors?
Connie has become __________ about her feelings towards Mellors.
When Hilda says "it sounds affected," she means that his accent sounds forced or faked. Why would he force or fake an accent? Why does he switch back and forth?
Explain why Mellors has such an outburst with Hilda. What does she represent to him?
How is this night's encounter different from the previous ones?
What is it that causes shame to die, according to Connie?
How does Lawrence build tension here? Which sense does he appeal to most through his use of imagery?
What does the highlighted section reveal about Mellors?
"Chair a plaisir" is French for "pleasures of the flesh."
Why is Connie so focused on legs here? To whose legs might she be comparing these legs?
Post-WWI Paris enjoyed a jazz age of its own. Much like the renaissance happening in New York, Paris became a center for lively parties and a mecca for artists and writers. Many American expatriates (Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway, etc.) took up residence in Paris during this time. (This annotation contains an image)
What is significant about the status of each of these people? Why do you think Lawrence even explains who is there in such detail?
The highlighted sentence includes
A fortnight is two weeks (14 days).
How has Clifford's letter changed Connie's feelings?
Based on Forbes's claims about society, which side do you think he would be on politically, Connie or Clifford's? Is he just saying this because he likes Connie?
Use the define feature to look up the work assiduously. Which of the following is an antonym for assiduously?
To whom might Clifford be referring here? Why does he not just tell Connie that her name has been drawn into the mess?
How does Clifford present his conversation with Mellors to Connie?
Is this a compliment to Duncan?
Why does Lawrence include this information about Sir Malcolm?
What new layer of love and contentment is Connie describing here? Think back over her internal musings throughout the affair. Why has it taken her so long to realize she feels this way?
What is the effect of Connie's interruption with the information that she is going to have a child?
What does Connie mean when she says that it is the "courage of [Mellors'] own tenderness"? How does Mellors then apply this idea to society in general? Why do you think Lawrence includes this discussion?
Which of the following dichotomies or opposites does this book not address?
Mellors has said he didn't know is he really even wanted the child, but now he seems upset by the knowledge that it may be born while he and Connie must remain separate. How is Mellors changing?
Which of the following is a likely inference you can draw?
What is Sir Malcolm asking Mellors about in the highlighted section? Does this seem customary or appropriate? What does this reveal about Sir Malcolm?
Connie's father, Sir Malcolm, seems to be the only one to really like Mellors. What is it about Mellors, Connie, and Sir Malcolm that makes them alike?
What does it mean that Connie "minded this conniving world less than he did"? What gives her the freedom to mind less?
Which of the following is present in the highlighted section?
Why does Lawrence begin to describe Clifford as an image? What effect does this have on you as a reader? What message does it convey, this shift in perspective?
Visit the website to read the poem Mrs. Bolton references here. What does the woman in the poem have in common with Clifford? Why does Mrs. Bolton think that he must weep or he must die? (This annotation contains a link)
Why did Lawrence include the allusion to Tennyson's poem? Use evidence from both the poem and the novel in your response.
What is Connie really terrified of? Is she afraid of Clifford physically? Emotionally? Is she afraid of herself? Of something else?
Which of the following is the best synonym for hackneyed as it is used in the highlighted sentence?
Notice the simile in the highlighted sentence. How does Lawrence use figurative language here to create tension and elevate the mood?
What inference can you draw given the conversation between Connie and Clifford?
The final few pages of this novel is a letter from Mellors to Connie. As you read, consider how this ending matches up with your prediction or expectations for the novel's end. Why do you think Lawrence chose to end the novel this way?
Explain why Mellors spends so much time writing to Connie about politics, economics, class structure and humanity. What central theme is this final speech building?
Section Three Quiz