66 pages 2 hours read

D. H. Lawrence

Women In Love

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1920

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Defining Love in a Time of Crisis

Lawrence wrote Women in Love between 1913 and 1917. While the novel is not about World War I, Lawrence wants “the bitterness of the war” (Foreword) to be the backdrop of all the characters’ interactions. The main characters are urgently searching for meaning in their lives through love, but much of the novel is comprised of their arguments and discussions about what love is, what it means, and if different kinds of love are possible. The war creates the pressure they feel to find a new definition of love that will give them something positive to cling to in a time of crisis and that will help them shape their lives moving forward.

Rupert in particular struggles with how to define love. He and Ursula often argue about their conflicting concepts of love: For Ursula, love is the most important thing in an individual’s life, and, indeed, in the world. It is all-encompassing and always positive. Rupert sees love as more problematic because it contains its opposite:

It’s a lie to say that love is the greatest. You might as well say that hate is the greatest, since the opposite of everything balances. What people want is hate—hate and nothing but hate.