42 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

The Rainbow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1915

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Symbols & Motifs

The Rainbow

In the novel’s closing paragraphs, Ursula sees a rainbow forming after a rainstorm. The storm closes out a period of her life that was rife with uncertainty, depression, and disillusionment. During that time, Ursula is wounded emotionally by her breakup with Anton and her possible pregnancy. She also suffers the physical trauma of falling from the oak tree and recovering from illness. As the storm clears and her health is restored, Ursula receives word Anton married someone else, and she experiences a wave of anger and shock that fades just as quickly as it flared. With all the threads of her past tied off, Ursula sees the rainbow as a symbol of new beginnings and growth, and she looks forward to what her future might hold. The rainbow also holds “earth’s new architecture,” and in it she sees “the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away,” as her newfound hope for herself inoculates her against the landscapes ruined by industrialization (459). The rainbow’s symbolic power extends back to the Christian Bible, in which Noah saw a rainbow after God sent a great flood to “reset” the earth. In this same sentiment, Ursula feels “reset” herself and presumably moves on from her personal, professional, and academic disappointments.