Interrelationships and Tensions Between City Life and Country Life in Literature
Lawrence brings across the unattractiveness of the urban and industrial city and establishes the city’s mentality into the minds of the miners. As a result, he creates a perfect, inhuman system of machines, where the miners begin to deny their humanity in feeling “satisfied to belong to the great and wonderful machine, even whilst it destroyed them”. There are many ways in which we can see that the link between the city and the mental life is illustrated through the character of Peter Walsh. On one hand Peter suffers from the loneliness in London as he feels a “strangeness of standing alone, alive, unknown, at half-past eleven in Trafalgar Square.” However he also uses this feeling to keep track of the young woman before she is lost in the city crowd. Peter chasing the young woman may in fact symbolize the change of social behaviour and interactions between the two sexes within the restrictions of the city. In ‘Women in Love’ a new directness regarding sexuality is presented as a consequence of the changing cultural environment in the city. Alcohol and sexual excitement are presented as the main occupations of the Pussum and the other residents of the flat. Although Gudrun regards London as a ‘foul town’, it is within the urban city where her new understanding of art is recognized. In the flat, a weird number of modernist works of art and influences are shown to symbolise the directness to non-traditional art. Within this environment of the modern city, we are presented with the Brangwen sisters as having much better chances to live their eminent individual personalities than within the well-known closeness of urban Beldover. Although Birkin and Gudrun detest the masses, Mrs Dalloway looks at the “small crowdâ€¦gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace” [from the distance it becomes striking and beautiful. It is the sense of an endless society and quality which attracts Woolf, Lawrence nonetheless is shocked by the crowd’s single mindedness. It is interesting to note that the characteristics of the crowd are not obvious for all citizens of the city.
With this aim goes a convention: universal truths can be uttered by plebeian figures located in a stylized countryside often suggestive of the Golden Age. In traditional or sophisticated pastoral these plebeian figures are shepherds. In naive pastoral they can be dropouts huddling in a commune. Traditional pastoral is composed by self-conscious artists in a high culture, and its premise, as also its charm, lies in the very “artificiality” untrained readers dislike, forgetting or not knowing that in literature the natural is a category of artifice. As urban men who can no more retreat to the country than could shepherds read the poems celebrating their virtues, we are invited by pastoral to a game of the imagination in which every move is serious.