42 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

The Rainbow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1915

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Important Quotes

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“There was a look in the eyes of the Brangwens as if they were expecting something unknown, about which they were eager. They had that air of readiness for what would come to them, a kind of surety, an expectancy, the look of an inheritor.”

(Chapter 1, Page 9)

The novel establishes its generational narrative from the very beginning with a sweeping description of the Brangwen family and their life at Marsh Farm. This passage highlights the Brangwens’ receptiveness to ambition and the novel’s attending to different generations of protagonists who “inherit” the narrative’s focus.

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“He could not learn deliberately. His mind simply did not work.”

(Chapter 1, Page 17)

Tom struggles with the intellectual labor of his lessons at school. His mother’s wish for her children to be educated is nearly lost on Tom, as he finds himself unsuited to the structure of public school. This is not to say that Tom is unintelligent; he excels in literary studies, but he ultimately gravitates toward the practical education gained by working the farm.

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“He was back in his youth, a boy, haunted by the sound of the owls, waking up his brother to speak to him. And his mind drifted away to the birds […] his brother had shot, fluffy, dust-coloured, dead heaps of softness with faces absurdly asleep. It was a queer thing, a dead owl.”

(Chapter 2, Page 71)

Lydia’s pained cries while giving birth remind Tom of owls he heard outside as a boy. His brother killed the owls to stop the noise, leaving Tom with a disturbing image of the dead birds. This auditory image links childbirth with death.