Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover Summary and Analysis of Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Clifford begins to listen to the radio. He becomes a hard shell, a practical man, with a soft, flaccid interior. Constance meanwhile notes the terror and insanity of the world. She feels that Clifford is terrified that she will leave him, and notes that he is like a child in his emotional life. She asks him again about having a child, and he says that he would only want one if it would not ruin their relationship with each other. He tells her that without her, he is nothing. She feels a lot of responsibility put on her with this assertion. She feels like he crushes her to death.

Often, Constance goes to the wood. One day, the keeper comes up to the hut while she is there, and shows that he has a key made for her. She notes that he seems very protective of his own privacy. She feels that at least he, of all people, is a sane person.

Another day while near the hut in the woods, Constance notices that two hens are sitting on their eggs. This makes her feel like her own maternal self is being unused. She tries to feed the hens, feeling like it is the only thing that warms her in this cold life. On yet another day, Constance sees a baby chicken, and is delighted to see life has come into being. She notes that this young life has no fear. Yet in contrast, she feels like she is going insane.

One afternoon, Constance tries to touch the little chicks that have just hatched. The keeper is there, and he notices that she lets a tear fall. He feels something in his loins even though he had thought his sex drive had permanently been retired. He sees in her face the "anguish of her generation's forlornness" (115). Trying to comfort her, he leads her into the hut, where he lays a blanket on the table for her. He begins to caress her, more and more heavily. He then enters her and they have sex. Constance feels like this entrance is pure peace, and she feels his orgasm in her as a kind of sleep. She thinks that if she kept herself for herself, that her life would be nothing. Giving it to a man made it real. She can bear the burden of herself no more. She does not know him at all but she still feels peaceful.

When they finish, they go outside, where the night sky is described as "crystal."

He asks if she is sorry and she responds that she is not. He says there will be complications, and that he thought he was through with such intimacy. When she leaves, she feels she has cost him privacy, when he had wanted to be alone.

Alone, the keeper goes to the top of the hill in the wood where there is a clearing. He looks out into the world and sees how mechanical, industrial it is. He sees electric lights, coal pits, and so forth. He recognizes that he can no longer be private and withdrawn. He knows that he is about to enter a new cycle of pain and doom. He blames the electric lights, the mechanical world for this cycle. He thinks of Constance as a hyacinth, as a very tender flower. But he knew that his conscience was a fear of society, fear of oneself. He was afraid of society, he realizes. He wishes he had other men to fight with, so that they could together preserve tenderness, the natural richness of desire.

Constance hurries home, without an afterthought as to her first time with the keeper. She returns to entertain a dinner guest at Wragby Hall, named Mr. Linley. She plays the part well. Once she is finally alone, she contemplates the keeper's naïve kindness. But she thinks that, since he could be so passionate with any woman, her individuality does not matter. He does not think of her as Lady Chatterley, nor as Constance Reid, she thinks to herself.

In going to the wood again, she feels as if sap is running through her body. She waits in the hut for the keeper. He finally arrives at night, but she tells him that she will have to leave soon so that they must be quick. This second sexual liaison is not as good as the first, because Constance feels left out of the interaction. Yet she realizes that it is her own fault, because she has willed herself into her own separation from him. She notes that his thrusting buttocks are ridiculous. He does not guess her tears, and she feels resentful. She is annoyed too when he speaks in his dialect to her. They bid each other goodnight.

The next day, Constance goes to Uthwaite, a nearby town, with Clifford. They visit Leslie Winter, the godfather of Clifford, and also a wealthy coal owner. Constance feels that Leslie Winter treats her as an individual, unlike the keeper. The keeper to her treats her as if she is a female womanhood.

Four days later, Constance sets out in the opposite direction of the wood on her walk. She visits a small house that is on their property that the Chatterleys rent out to the Flints. She has tea with Mrs. Flint, who has a newborn baby. Constance plays with this young newborn and admires its fearlessness.

As she returns home, the keeper suddenly appears in Constance's path. He jokes that she is trying to give him the slip. He leads her through the woods and they have sex again. He tears her waistband because she is not helping him take off her clothing. She is just lying there inert. She does not come herself initially. But then she begins to feel the rhythm with him. Her orgasm is described as a "perfect concentric fluid of feeling" (134). They finish, both feeling "unknowing."

The keeper notes that they had orgasms at the same time. Constance asks if he has ever had that with a woman. Constance returns home, feeling like there is another ‘self’ alive in her, as if she herself has a child in her body. She realizes that it would be a nice thing to have a child with a man who was welcome in her womb. She begins to feel a new yearning adoration for him, but she is also afraid of this feeling. She wants to fight it with her will, so that she doesn't become a slave. Yet at the same time, she paradoxically feels that this adoration is her treasure. She still wants to sink into the bath of life, and feels that it is too early for fear.

She returns home and tells Clifford she has been to tea with Mrs. Flint. Mrs. Bolton meanwhile begins to suspect that she has a lover. Clifford will not let Constance be alone, and instead insists that she stay after dinner to hear her read lines from Racine, a writer. As he reads though, Constance hardly listens. She feels strangely passive though, letting him keep her there longer than she wants to be there.

Upon going to bed, Clifford is a network of nerves. He feels like Constance has become obsessed with the baby of the Flints. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bolton also tries to sleep and she wonders who Constance could have taken as a lover. She begins to feel bitter about her own husband's death, and blames the world for it. Her soul was anarchic because of it.

The narrative then shifts to the keeper, who also cannot sleep. He had not seen his wife since 1915. He thinks of his time abroad. He feels as if he had been "temporising" with his life, not knowing what to do. He thinks about how he came back to his own class in England, and how in this class there was no pretense of not caring about money. He himself tries not to care about it, and feels that it is a cancer. Yet he realizes that one had to care about money. He sees misery ahead, in having gotten entangled with Lady Chatterley. He wonders what he can do with his life. He can only think of escaping to America. The keeper then goes for a walk, and stands outside Wragby Hall at 4am.

Mrs. Bolton sees him from her window and realizes that he is the lover of Lady Chatterley. Mrs. Bolton thinks to herself that she was in love with him once too, having known him as an adolescent. She notes that he had married Bertha Coutts, almost as if he meant to spite himself.

The keeper feels as if being with the woman is his only necessity as he stands outside of her home. However he then realizes that he must wait for her to come to him. He realizes it is no use getting rid of his aloneness - he needs to get used to it.


The three sex scenes in this chapter are importantly, quite different from each other. The first is an expression of compassion and tenderness. Constance is in a low state, and Mellors comforts her physically. Notably there is very little thought going into this process. It is like a natural state of affairs. This reflects the setting of the sex scene, insofar as Constance's escape into the wood is supposed to represent her escape into nature. However, the actual landscape is full of the remnants of industry and man-made constructs. This is the symbolic significance, for example, of the clearing at the top of the hill in the wood. Man has destroyed the natural beauty of nature. However, Lawrence wants to point to the fact that man has nature within himself, and he can get in touch with this kind of beauty by having sex, allowing one's sexual instinct to run free. Notably, after her first physical encounter, she feels a communion with nature, as she feels the sap of the trees to be running through her existence.

The second physical scene is a disappointment for Constance. She notably had returned from the first sexual encounter thinking that she wanted to be recognized as an individual. However, she finds that, in the second time she has sex, it is this very understanding of herself in terms of her individuality that prevents her from enjoying herself. Lawrence wants to point to the impersonal nature of the sexual, physical act. One does not need to be "loved for oneself" for him, as in understood completely in terms of a personality and one's intellectual existence, but rather one is getting in touch with that which is natural across humanity. Thus the keeper calls Constance “the woman,” and similarly, Constance thinks of the keeper as "the keeper" rather than as Oliver Mellors.

There are several symbolic images of motherhood throughout this text. Constance's interaction with the hens shows her attraction to the maternal. She also appreciates playing with Mrs. Flint's baby. However, there is an implication that motherhood will not be for her what it would be for Clifford. She is not interested in supplying Wragby Hall with an heir. Instead, the implication is that there is something very instinctual in her desire to be a mother, and there is no real intellectual reason that she should desire it.

It is notable that the mind is set against the body in this text, as two polar opposite kinds of experiences, one of which undermines the other. So for example, when Clifford reads to Constance the poetic language of Racine, he notes that Racine has given order to otherwise chaotic emotions. Constance retorts that people pretend to have emotions that they don't have, and Clifford agrees that this is what he meant. Racine, who represents intellectual aesthetic activity here, is not held up as an ideal, in other words. Instead, Racine represents intellectuality that has become divorced from its source, the emotions. Yet, the physically instinctual cannot exist entirely separately either. Notably, Mrs. Bolton supplies us with the perspective on Mellors' education: he was actually a clever boy in school. Constance struggles with the desire to put her feelings into words, similarly. And of course, we are reading a literary text to obtain this information about these characters.