66 pages 2 hours read

D. H. Lawrence

Women In Love

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1920

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Symbols & Motifs

The Moon and Water

The moon symbolizes love and mystery in Women in Love. It often appears in combination with water, which can symbolize life, but by night, water is often associated with danger and uncertainty. These symbols abound in Chapter 14, “Water-Party.” The lanterns that night are described with lunar imagery, such as a “great blue moon of light” (174) coming from a lantern Ursula holds and, simply, “moon-like lanterns” (177). It is a magical moment to hold a moonlike object in one’s hands, and at this moment, both couples’ romances seem to be coming together. Diana’s death by drowning interrupts these peaceful events, turning a setting of love and romance—the lake under the moonlight—into a symbol of death.

In Chapter 19, “Moony,” Ursula is disturbed when she finds the reflection of the moon inescapable, like it is watching her. She finds some trees and is “glad to pass into the shade out of the moon” (245). When Rupert throws rocks into the water, “[t]he moon […] explode[s] on the water, and [is] flying asunder in flakes of white and dangerous fire” (247). In this conflict between human and nature, Rupert can change the moon’s reflection, but only temporarily.