Marriage in the novels of Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence
This thesis is a developmental and comparative study of marriage in the novels of Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. Although this subject is frequently alluded to in recent criticism of both authors, it is rarely discussed in detail. The main interest of the study here is to show how marriage and its sub-themes of love, sex and women, as well as society's perceptions of them in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in the period between 1870 and 1930, have developed in their social and psychological dimensions, and how these developments are reflected in the novels. Partly for biographical reasons Hardy and Lawrence have different motives in exploring the theme of marriage: one seeks to deconstruct it for its failure to bring fulfilment to husband and wife, the other attempts to reconstruct it anew in order to bring fulfilment to man and woman's relationship. This approach is reflected in the thesis by dividing it into three major parts: Part one is concerned with marriage in reality as it was understood by society and experienced by Hardy and Lawrence; Part two deals with marriage from two points of view; and Part three is allotted to the consideration of marital patterns. While Chapter one surveys the social history of the period and the conceptual changes in the institution of marriage which took place in English society, Chapter two shows how these changes are reflected in the lives of Hardy and Lawrence, particularly in their relationships with women. As a transitional link between reality and fiction, Chapter three examines marriage in two "autobiographical" novels, 'The Return of the Native and Sons and Lovers, in order to show the novelists' conscious and unconscious perceptions of their strong attachments to their mothers and the influence of this on their love and marriage relationships. The following two chapters investigate the presentation of marriage from two different points of view. To demonstrate how Hardy and Lawrence use different methods to tackle the issue of marriage, Chapter four discusses marriage from a female point of view in Far from the Madding Crowd, the Woodlanders and the Rainbow. Chapter five examines marriage from a male point of view in the Mayor of Casterbridge, Aaron's Rod and "The Captain's Doll", trying to show how important it is for the individual to reconcile his 'male' and 'female' elements in marriage. Chapters six and seven examine how Hardy and Lawrence, by the use of a similar marital pattern, reach opposite conclusions which justify their intentions, the sixth chapter focusing on Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Women in Love, the seventh on Jude the Obscure and Lady Chatterley's Lover.