Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover Summary and Analysis of Chapter 14

Chapter 14

As Constance is slipping out the house, the keeper spots her. He goes up to her and they discuss Clifford. He says that he doesn't hate Clifford, but he does not care for his sort. He thinks that Clifford is a "gentleman with no balls" (196). Constance and the keeper go to the keeper's cottage. Constance sees a giant photograph of the keeper's wife and himself from when they were newlyweds. She suggests that he burn the picture. He takes it down, un-frames it, and throws it into the fire.

Constance tells him he ought to get a divorce, or else the wife will come back any day and bother him. She asks him why they married. His response is to tell her about his sexual history. The first woman he loved would encourage him to read and write poetry, but she was not interested in sex. The second woman he was interested in also did not want sex and he had to force her to do it. Finally he met Bertha Coutts, who was a sensual woman, while he was working as a blacksmith at Tevershall. He had been glad that Bertha was a common woman. However, her way of having sex was infuriating to him because she only wanted to have sex when he did not want to. She also infuriated him because she would wait until he was finished climaxing and then she would climax herself only afterwards. She could never come to her crisis when he was working, but only when she herself was doing the work. He left her alone after the child was born. After that, he went to the war.

He then starts talking about how there are several sorts of women: those who don't want sex but who act like it's part of the bargain of marriage, those who only pretend to like it, those who like intimate cuddling but not sex, those who bring themselves to climax, and "lesbians" who like to climax and not allow the men to climax. Constance asks if he is glad that she has come along. He responds that he is sorry and glad. He is sorry because he knows there will be complications. Yet he also feels glad because he thought that there was no real sex life. He finds that most men can accept a lie, but he cannot himself. For him, the core of his life is to have the right relation with a woman (204). He mentions that he easily mistrusts others, with his mind, but not his body. Constance responds that the mind can do what it wants, and it does not matter.

Constance thinks that the keeper talks coldly about sex, as if it is only about his own pleasure. He disagrees, and claims that it takes two for him to be satisfied with it. Constance retorts that he never believed in women. He tells her that he believes in "warm heartedly fucking" (206) rather than "cold hearted fucking." He believes that Constance herself wants it to be cold-hearted, that she wants sex to be a grand and mysterious thing that will help her flatter her own self-importance. She says that the same is true of him. He gets annoyed at her and suggests they just go to bed. They realize something has come between them.

The narrator tells us that Constance's consciousness then "dies" (207). She knows nothing. The keeper then holds her. Through sex, the narrator tells us, the pair gains a "measure of equanimity" (207). They declare their intentions to be together.

The next morning, Constance examines the keeper's naked body as he rises to close the curtain. She finds it strange that he is "really like that" (210), that his body is so lordly and proud. He begins to speak in dialect to her. He names his penis "John Thomas" and he names her private parts "Lady Jane." She examines his penis, seeing it as a "soft bud of life" (210). She thinks his penis is rather terrible. They have sex again.

She asks him again if he loves her. The keeper responds: "Tha knows what tha knows, what dost ax for!" (211) (You know what you know, what are you asking for?") As she leaves, she glances at his bookcase and notes that he actually does read. Constance tells him she wishes the rest of the world would disappear and that she could live there forever.


In this chapter, Constance sleeps in the keeper's home for the first time. This allows them to make something of their own world together. However, what they discover is that it is impossible to keep the other world out. Constance is curious about his married life, and the picture of Bertha marks the territory of his home as alien and possessed by another. Likewise, she finds that she must return home to the world in the morning, even though she would like it all to disappear. In other words, the two will have to deal with the social consequences of their affair.

Mellors' typology of females' attitude toward sex is not to be taken as a rigid classificatory system. He has found that he is very disappointed in the women he has met who cannot open themselves up to be intimate with him, but instead insist on living "in the world" in some way. The women who do not like sex seem to be interested in social conventions. The women who do like it, in contrast, seem to be interested in it only for their own selfish pleasure. Mellors wants a true intimacy with a woman, which means achieving a natural rhythm with her, as symbolized by simultaneous climaxing.

The keeper's decision to name their genitals is a somewhat surprising decision, given the overall distrust of language that Lawrence evinces in the entirety of the book. So in this chapter again, Constance is rebuffed when she asks for a verbal declaration of the keeper's love. Instead, he tells her that she already knows. It seems that words would just get in the way of what she knows intuitively. They would be simply a bad representation of what she has just felt in their act of lovemaking. The decision to name their genitals in contrast, symbolizes the development of a new language that would be capable of genuine expression. This is underlined by the fact that the penis is described as a "soft bud of life" -- the idea is that the two are creating a garden all their own.