42 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

The Rainbow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1915

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Chapters 1-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “How Tom Brangwen Married a Polish Lady”

The Brangwen family has lived on Marsh Farm in Nottinghamshire for generations. The family’s land is highly profitable, so the family members live comfortably but are still careful to avoid overspending. The men are content with life on the farm, but the women imagine life in the nearby cities and strive to educate their children. In 1840, collieries open and are connected by a canal that cuts through Marsh Farm. A railroad is built shortly after the canal, and although the Brangwens produce supplies for the collieries, the region’s sudden industrialization makes the family feel like “strangers in their own place” (14).

Alfred Brangwen and his wife have six children: an unnamed eldest son, Alfred, Frank, Alice, Effie, and Tom. The eldest son left home at a young age and never returned. Alfred works in a lace factory, and Frank becomes a butcher. Alice marries a collier and moves away. Tom attends the Grammar School in nearby Derby and excels at literary studies. When their father dies, Tom returns home to run Marsh Farm. The siblings fight often—especially Tom and Frank. When he is 19, Tom becomes fascinated with sex, but he finds his first sexual encounter upsetting. Tom’s mother dies when he is 23, and he begins frequenting the Red Lion in Cossethay.