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Splitting→Pursuing→Transcending-A Deconstructive Interpretation of D.H. Lawrence’s Poetry

Author: SunGuanHua
Tutor: HeChangYi
School: Yunnan Normal University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: D. H. Lawrence poetry splitting pursuing transcending outlook of life
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 20
Quote: 0
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D. H. Lawrence is one of the most influential British novelists. Besides, he is also an excellent poet, essayist, critic and painter. Lawrence’s fame as a poet is not as famous as a novelist, but actually he writes poems throughout his life. He writes verses before he is quite out of teens, and continues to do so until his death. Lawrence publishes ten collections of poems when he is alive with two more books posthumously published. Throughout his life, Lawrence has created more than a thousand poems, whose value is hard to be measured; particularly the success of Birds, Beasts and Flowers as well as Last Poems is no less than the novelist Lawrence gains.D. H. Lawrence’s poetry could be divided roughly into three phases: Early Phase(1904 - 1919), Middle Phase (1920 -1927) and Last Phase (1928 - 1930). Each phase exhibits the different attitudes or outlook of life of Lawrence and proves the poet’s advancement both in his understanding of the psychological or ideological world and the realistic world. In the early period, most of his poems are autobiographical both in their subject matter and their setting. They deal with the torment and tenderness of awakening love. However, the signifier ’self in Lawrence’s early works is splitting and incomplete. Most of the protagonists are paradoxical and contradictive because of his disharmonious childhood and emotional crisis after his mother’s death and the conflict between sex and love. Fortunately, the poet quickly gets rid of the shadow of splitting because he has shifted his attention from ’self to nature and tries to pursue a coherent and harmonious relationship between man and nature. Lawrence expresses his enthusiasm and yearning for nature through his portrayal or singing of animals and plants so as to pursue the true nature of self. Nevertheless, the reality is cruel and indifferent, the poet’s ideal has collapsed because of the defects of modern industrial civilization. As a result, Lawrence has to seek for the way of self-realization. Finally, he finds out hopes in interpreting death which could renew life and youth just like a phoenix. Therefore, D. H. Lawrence transcends not only himself but also his outlook of life through interpreting death. Thus, the pilgrimage and the spiritual development of D. H. Lawrence, or we may say, Lawrence’s developing outlook on life could be summed up as a process of splitting→pursuingtranscending. This thesis tries to expound how the poet’s outlook of life develops by applying Derrida’s theory of deconstruction, to be exact, his idea on the relationship between signified and signifier, which reveals that the connotation or meaning of a word (signifier) does not stay at the superficial level but implies various signified ideas according to the different backgrounds and contexts. Therefore, the developing progress of Lawrence’s poetry, namely, splitting→pursuing→transcending is revealed in the thesis through a deconstructive interpretation.

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