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Bodies of Water: The Question of Resisting or Yielding to the Active Unconsciousness in D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

D. H. Lawrence believed the individual psyche to consist of two parts: the active unconsciousness and the mental consciousness. The active unconsciousness is a sort of life force within the individual, and one that allows the individual a true connection to the world. It is also closely related to the body, and sometimes called “blood-being” or “blood-consciousness.” The mental consciousness could be said to be the “intellect” in the individual psyche, dealing with abstractions and ideas. Lawrence insists that contemporary society’s prioritizing of the functions of the mental consciousness leads individuals to allow it too much influence over their life. This ultimately leads them to become dominating, willful and deadly.

Lawrence’s 1920 novel Women in Love is an allegory of what Lawrence saw as the detrimental effect on individuals by the over-emphasis on rationality in contemporary society, and also of the struggle to find a way back to a more natural way of existing in the world. This essay argues that the processes of, and struggle between, the mental consciousness and active unconsciousness, are illustrated in images of water. Surface and merging imagery connotes denial of or loss of contact with the active unconsciousness, eventually leading the individual to seek death. Flood and submersion imagery connotes a possibility to find a way back to a life lived in and through the active unconsciousness. Fountain imagery and images of water connoting growth and openness connote the strong, creative life force inherent in the active unconsciousness. However, some water imagery in the novel also contradicts any notion of a stable balance—Lawrence universe is one where death and destruction is a necessary component of life and creativity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 19 p.
Keyword [en]
D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love, water, images, mental consciousness, active unconsciousness, individual psyche, will, balance, imbalance, creativity, destruction, Apocalypse, Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious, Fantasia of the Unconscious
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113166OAI: diva2:783223
Available from: 2015-01-27 Created: 2015-01-25 Last updated: 2015-01-27Bibliographically approved

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Svenson Lembke, Jenny
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