Utopia through Sexuality and Regeneration
For D.H. Lawrence, there seemed to be two distinct paths to utopia: sex and regeneration. Through sexuality, wholeness can be achieved and the feelings of solitude fade. For sex is based on companionship and a mutual consent toward a common goal. Regeneration is based on the idea that a utopian society cannot truly be reached without there first being suffering. For how can one know the heights of happiness unless they have been pulled through the darker places of life? It is only after we have an understanding of how terrible life can grow that we can begin to set for ourselves any hope of something better. D. H. Lawrence understood these concepts, and did not shy away from his religious parallels regarding them. Although these two distinct forms of comparison seem to initially work against one another, Lawrence finds a unique manner in which to ensure they coexist. Through his use of tortoise imagery, he makes the sexual nature less obtrusive and at the same time allows there to be some semblance of self-retreat from the seemingly ceaseless suffering.
- H. Lawrence used sexuality in his poetry to portray a sense of utopia for his readers. He was criticized for what some considered pornographic images in his poems, but there can be no denying that these were used to deliver a utopic feel throughout. Lawrence first ensures that the reader has a complete understanding of the loneliness which accompanies life before the sexual consummation. We are “born to walk alone” until, through the act of sex, we are “dragged out of an eternity of silent isolation” (Lawrence 295). There is a desperate “need to add himself on to her”, for he is only a “partial being” without his partner (295). With a clear understanding of the lonesome nature of life without sex, Lawrence then sets up the utopic principles which he believes can be reached through sexual completion. “Sex, which breaks up our integrity, our single inviolability, our deep silence,” becomes the catalyst into heights of splendor that can only be categorized as utopic in nature. There is a “grim necessity from within”, an “awful need to persist” that drives us to reach this ultimate destination (295). It is here that Lawrence believes we can become “whole again throughout the universe” (299). Sex is necessary to propagate a species; this makes the act of sex a regenerative in nature.
- H. Lawrence uses regeneration in his poetry as a facilitator for utopic thought. Throughout his poems, he uses the idea of loneliness to set tone. It is through this sort of self-suffering that he believes we are able to truly experience happiness. Over and over again, Lawrence uses language that suggests how “tiny” and “fragile” we are (285). He ensures that we understand that “isolation is his birthright” (290) and that we are “enveloped in isolation” (293). We may be “tiny from under the very edge of the farthest far-off horizon of life” (298), but “out of life’s unfathomable dawn” (296) we remain “driven” (295). Although we are “ponderous”, we take immense pride in our “indomitable will” (296).
Regeneration requires that there be some semblance of suffering. D. H. Lawrence understood suffering, for he was stricken with tuberculosis and was often ill. His objection to the war put him at odds with the law, and his sexual writing put him at odds with his peers.
“complex, manifold involvedness of an individual creature” (289)
“You know what it is to be born alone,”
“alone, with no sense of being alone”
“Do you wonder at the world,”
“Your little round house in the midst of chaos”
“All life carried on your shoulder”
Tortoise Shout “Torn to become whole again, after long seeking what is lost”