21 July 2008

Linguistics in Women in Love

I wanted to follow up our very brief discussion about the way Lawrence uses language and discourse in regard to repetition. In an article entitled Linguistic Incantation and Parody in Women in Love written by Jack Stewart, the author says:

"Language achieves a kind of presence through repetition, incantation, and refraction, evoking for the reader more meaning than is actually conveyed in the text...Lawrence says that he uses repetition to show how biorhythmic impulses are sublimated in thought or language..."

We can see an example of this in the following dialogue between the sisters:

"-He's got go, anyhow" [says Ursula of Gerald].

"Certainly he's got go," [says] Gundrun. "In fact I've never seen a man that showed signs of so much. The unfortunate thing is where does his go go to, what becomes of it?"

"Oh I know, [says] Ursula. "It goes in applying the latest appliances."

In this particular instance, the repetition of the word go suggests a sort of automation, hinting again at one of the central themes of the novel - industrialization. The phrasing represents Gerald's needless expenditure of energy in what machines could do better, the metaphoric substitution of iron for flesh and blood. According to Stewart, Gerald's one-dimensional will-driven quality is emphasized by redundancy.

From a writers' perspective, I think it is important to be aware of the limits of language and the different ways we can use style to communicate despite prejudice, interference or incomprehension.


Snehal said...

What a great argument. Would you be willing to post the full bibliographic entry for that article?

Jasey said...

It's a solid 13 pages long... but a wonderful read.