Short Fiction of D.H. Lawrence

The Use of Allegory in D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Man who Loved Islands’ College

In D.H. Lawrence’s ‘The Man who Loved Islands’, the plot is used as a vehicle for an allegory about different ideals in life – ‘community, marriage and independence’ (Franks 121), as represented by the three islands. Through the use of an allegory, Lawrence delivers a cautionary tale that goes beyond the plot of simply a man who lives on three different islands, warning against the ‘idealization of solitude’ (Son 156) and emphasizing that socialization is a necessary part of our humanity.

The first island, which represents a creation of the ideal community revolving around oneself, is a resounding failure. The problem with such a community is that Mr Cathcart sees the island community as ‘a world of his own’ (210), ‘the perfect place, all filled with his own gracious, blossom-like spirit’ (212-213), ‘Paradise’ (213). In essence, he sees the island as an idealization of a heaven on earth, and him playing God at the center of his utopia. He assumes a fantasized role as ‘the Master’ (214), ‘Our Saviour’ (215), and ‘the fount of this happiness and perfection’ (214) on this ‘Happy Isle’ (212). Thus, although there is a community around him, Mr Cathcart is not properly socialized into it, rather he focuses on minimizing or negating...

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