Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover Summary and Analysis of Chapter 8

Chapter 8

At the behest of Mrs. Bolton, Constance goes for walks in the wood. She becomes stronger. She feels she wants to forget people, and forget the world. Constance is as if drifting through the cold currents and the flowers. Amidst these flowers, she drifts over to the cottage of the gamekeeper, where she leans against an "erect" pine-tree.

The next day, she goes for another walk, and this time she finds an icy spring. She then hears a faint tapping. She comes upon a secret hut made of poles. She realizes that this is where the gamekeeper rears pheasants. She sees him there, and he salutes her. The gamekeeper speaks to her in a curious dialect, and offers her a seat. He lights a fire for her in the hut. She feels like the hut is a sanctuary. Yet she also thinks she is oppressing the gamekeeper, invading his privacy. She watches him as he works at making a coop. His dog sits near by. This vision of his solitary labor "touches Constance's womb,” making her feel much as she did when she saw him naked (89). The narrator tells us that "this relieved her of herself" (89) and that she feels irresponsible. Constance asks the keeper for a duplicate key for the hut, even though she is not sure if the hut is his own or if it belongs to the estate. He claims that no one makes keys around there.

As Constance walks home, she feels angry at this servant. She reports to Clifford that Mellors has been rather rude to her, and she asks Clifford where there might be a key to the hut. Clifford shares that Mellors was once a blacksmith in Egypt, and also lived in India as a lieutenant. He also lets on that Mellors speaks perfectly well, and that he does not always speak in dialect.

Clifford one day decides to go into the wood with Constance. Constance picks some Catkins for him and he responds: "Thou still unravished bride of quietness" (93). Constance feels angry with him for "turning everything into words" (93). There is a tension between them. She feels that she wants to be clear of him, and his obsession with himself.

Another day she goes for a walk. She gets caught in the rain and camps out near the hut. Mellors finds her there and gives her a key, offering find another place to rear the pheasants. Constance says she does not want a key, but she simply wants to sit there. Mellors says that he would not want to disturb her, as he would be working near there. She insists that he would not be a nuisance. He then admits that she would be a nuisance to him. She goes home in confusion, not knowing if he expects that she wants him to keep away, or if it is he himself who wants her kept away.


Constance's walks into the wood are depicted as a kind of communion between her and nature. It is as if she is learning sexuality from nature -- re-orienting herself to her own natural instincts by looking at flowers, seeing the world as if through flowers. These flowers symbolize the blossoming of her sexuality. This heavy imagery of yellow buds, primroses, daffodils, and so forth is juxtaposed with Constance leaning against a pine tree. The pine tree is described as "erect" -- this is no accident. It is intentionally phallic imagery, foreshadowing her eventual copulation with the gamekeeper. It also symbolizes her sexual awakening.

When Constance happens upon the gamekeeper working near his hut, she feels as if she is invading his privacy. The narrator states that: "He wished above all things she would go away and leave him to his own privacy" (89). It is not clear though if this is Constance's attribution of a state of mind to the gamekeeper, or the actual thought which the gamekeeper has in his mind. We have not yet "been in the mind" of the gamekeeper, and he seems to be a relatively minor character at this point. Plus, the story is told from Constance's perspective, in which she is watching the gamekeeper. That is the evidence that it is Constance's attribution of thought to the gamekeeper. However, the literal evidence of the text would tell us that it is the gamekeeper's thought that is being translated here, insofar as the sentences are given very simply, not as translations of Constance's thoughts, but as facts. This ambiguity is a larger play of language on the part of Lawrence, as the author. He is showing how language can mean different things when understood within different contexts.

Constance's feeling of "irresponsibility" is paralleled to her sexual feelings for the gamekeeper. Interestingly, she has this vision in a scene of his engagement with his own labor. This physical labor, initially described as a hammering, is a stark contrast to Clifford's intellectual labor, which is also described as a kind of tapping -- "When he was alone, he tap-tap-tapped on a typewriter, to infinity" (83). Clifford's effort seems meaningless, without a real goal aside from description and analyses.

Notably, Constance's interactions with the keeper have not exactly been friendly so far. She has seen him kill a cat in front of his own daughter, and now she is denied a key to a hut on her own property. She is angry in both situations. Such a confrontational interaction with the gamekeeper is indicative of what Lawrence thought was necessary for female and male interactions. He thought they had to be oppositional in nature, rather than symbiotic. Only then ought one to offer replenishment to the other. Notably, such harmonious relations characterize Clifford’s relationship to Constance. Harmony, though, is stifling, resulting in a slow sapping of Constance's life energy.

Clifford, who was initially, as a younger man, against the traditions of the aristocracy in idea, comes to embody an old-fashioned aristocratic class-consciousness when he interacts with Mrs. Bolton and speaks about Mellors. This shows that one cannot overcome one's own social position merely through the intellect and rationality. Instead, Clifford very much embodies a class position through his personality. He does not know how to interact with lower classes, and he is only comfortable when everyone is acting according to their role in society.