The Rainbow

Mind Over Matter: A Close Reading of Character Contrasts in The Rainbow 11th Grade

Early in The Rainbow, D. H. Lawrence introduces the farm laborers and an intellectual vicar through the eyes of Mrs. Brangwen, describing the characters’ distinct lifestyles. Lawrence establishes a contrast between the two types of men to illuminate the significance of knowledge over physical ability. To construct this hierarchy of values and virtues, Lawrence pays special attention to imagery and word choice. He accomplishes much through powerful turns of diction, which place the two sets of men (those defined by brute strength, and those defined by knowledge) in direct yet intriguing opposition.

The motif of blood compares farming and battle, painting the laborers as warriors whose physical strength exceeds their mental capacity. The text states that “they know in their blood” about the land and nature (Lawrence 8-9). Through the connection of the land to blood, Lawrence expresses the Brangwen men’s familiarity with farming, and presents them as more physically than mentally oriented. Their innate connection to blood emphasizes the men’s association to battle, thus demonstrating their inclination to more tangible possessions, as they value body over mind. Lawrence also explains that the Brangwen men’s faces are always “turned...

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