UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study of the archetypal patterns in "The Princess", "The Woman Who Rode Away", and St. Mawr, by D.H. Lawrence MacPhee, Marilynne Ann Cawker


Lawrence's Letters dated September and October, 1924 give clear evidence that Lawrence considered St. Mawr, "The Princess", and "The Woman Who Rode Away" to be an organic group related in terms of theme, mood and setting. My interpretation of the archetypal patterns underlying these three works gives further evidence of their overall unity in symbolic and structural design, a design which consists of five major features: 1) a marked dependence on mythic patterns which manifest the psychic growth of the heroines, and structure that growth in terms of the heroic quest. 2) an emphatic change in mood from alienation and numb despair to hope and belief in fulfillment marks the onset of the quest, and separates each work into two distinct modes: satire and romance in St. Mawr, irony and romance in "The Princess" and "The Woman Who Rode Away". 3) the quest involves not only a rejection of social values and conduct but also a full acceptance of the living cosmos. This acceptance is sparked by a new relationship between person and place which entails the discovery that human growth and fulfillment is possible only through finding one's true identity within the whole fabric of nature. 4) a central concern with defining power in its positive aspects as the vitality and creativity of being, and in its negative aspects as the force and bullying of the will and ego. Power can either renew or distort and destroy life. 5) the major focus of the works is on the process of metamorphosis, or death and rebirth, which promises the reintegration of man, society, and nature. The New Mexican works show Lawrence exploring the existential process of maturation—how the spirit develops and comes to fruition, and striving to realize the furthest limits of human awareness through symbol and myth. These limits are expressed by means of the archetypal pattern of the quest which Lawrence uses to celebrate the unfolding and completion of the human spirit in all its beauty and vitality. Each work builds towards two climaxes: the moment of choice at which the heroine must decide whether her deepest loyalties lie with her family and her society, or with her deepest self; and the moment of illumination at which the heroine either accepts the responsibility of a freedom that is paradoxically a submission to the cosmic life force, or else loses courage and is broken by the battle of conscious and unconscious forces within her psyche.

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