How is Constance's sexual awakening depicted in the novel? What are the implications of the way in which it is depicted?
The process of Constance's sexual awakening is gradual and inconstant - sometimes she will seem to progress only to regress. This depiction shows the dynamic between particular obstacles, and how Constance must overcome each of them. However, these obstacles often are engrained in the very way that she thinks about herself. So for example, Clifford's vision of her influences her ability to view her own body. The achievement of her own voice is a matter of ridding herself of Clifford's contagious influence.
How are artists and intellectuals portrayed in the novel? What abstract ideas do they represent?
Artists and intellectuals are depicted as incapable cowards, who hide behind their ideas for fear of the control that their body has over them. This represents Lawrence's hostility to ideas that were incapable of achieving a real effect in society, to ideas that were unattached to the sensory capabilities of man and his emotions. He wants to emphasize that humans are made both of their minds and their bodies.
In what way is this novel "modernist"?
Modernism could be said to be characterized by a privileging of subjective states of being in response to empirical and rational views of the world. Lawrence celebrates the emotional and sensory capacities of man, and wants to emphasize the significance of these capacities to continue man's life in the world. Further, the novel is "modernist" because it understands its own age as a time of transition. As a post-war novel, it sees the failure of rational thought to prevent the barbarism of people toward each other. That means that national and rational systems (such as capitalism) had failed to respond to human need. Lawrence is casting about for another way that people could relate to one another, and he decides on the view of "tenderness" and "open-heartedness."
How do characters relate to their environments? How does the depiction of the landscape reflect Lawrence's worldview?
Characters project their emotions onto their environments, but they are also influenced by these environments. When they see a state of devastation, such as the remnants of a mining complex, they see the way that man has pillaged the earth out of greed. This makes them feel hopeless. However, in certain areas there is still some nature pushing through, and this helps revitalize the people in the novel, allowing them to connect to their inner feelings. For example, when Constance goes for walks, the flowers reflect her inner sexual awakening, as they parallel her blossoming with their own.
How are class issues represented in the novel? How does this relate to the position of women in society?
Clifford is an aristocrat who believes that, even though he was simply born into the posiition, he has a duty to run the world in the same traditional order as before, even though he is not necessarily inherently better than someone else. This is a demonstration of some of the contradictory ideals of democracy, liberalism and aristocracy that were prevalent during Lawrence's time. Socially speaking, people wanted to believe that they were acting in the good of other people, yet Britain held on to an antiquated class system. Another example of class issues in the novel is Mellors' dialect: he finds no shame in being lower class, and other people find this threatening.