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Marriage in Women in Love

How far would you agree that Women in Love should be read as a debate on the possibilities and limitations of marriage? As one progresses through the book Women in Love we encounter various instances where marriage is referred to. We realise, as we read, that Lawrence uses the book to comment on various topics and his opinions on them and marriage, being a very major topic involving male-female relationships, of which this book is prominently about, is mentioned also. We see different peoples reactions to and opinions on marriage and it seems probable that, like with other subjects such as industrialisation, they are those of Lawrence himself. However the conclusions seemingly drawn from this book are not the kind normally associated with marriage and Lawrence takes an altogether pessimistic view of the ceremony as being restricting and confining.The first reference to marriage comes at the very beginning of the novel when Gudrun and Ursula are talking with each other in their home at Beldover. They discuss the possibilities of marriage and it is through this first topic that we are shown the character of the two women. As always when characters discuss social issues in the novel, one character poses all the questions whilst the other answers them in such as way that the subject is never quite resolved and the first character is obliged to ask another question to continue the debate (we witness such an interaction also when Birkin and Gerald talk on the train). The girls discuss whether or not getting married is a way of improving ones lot in life and Gudrun, introducing her characters physically minded personality and desire for satisfaction of body rather than mind, feels that people need to have the experience of being married. The mentally driven Ursula, who it turns out has already been asked for her hand in marriage several time and has refused, is not so quick to jump to a conclusion as to whether a persons position is improved...

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