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Quest for wholeness : D.H. Lawrence's shorter fiction Fraser, Keith William

Abstract

That one narrows the critically popular quest theme to one of wholeness does not axiomatically assure a tapered, pertinent monograph. For that reason I have taken some care to construct my approach to D. H. Lawrence's shorter fiction with three chapters which canalize Setting, Structure, and Imagery toward this quest for wholeness. And to attenuate further, the three essays which connect with each of these are titled "Landscape and Point of View," "The Whole Story," and "Triangle Versus the Individual Consciousness." In the case of the first and last, I use two of Lawrence's own essays to kindle the examinations of certain short stories and novellas. Chapter I endeavors to relate the apparent influence of post-Impressionist painting on the writer's creation of landscape, and to illustrate how closely point of view allies itself with setting in the character quest for wholeness. The third chapter recognizes the difference between structural and concrete Imagery, then uses the triangle image as an example of the first kind to show how this image remains antithetical to Lawrence's idea of the individual consciousness—for him the epitome of wholeness. The middle chapter attempts to locate a unique contribution by Lawrence to the short story art of the twentieth century, and to demonstrate successful and unsuccessful quests by characters who attain archetypal scope which lifts them beyond the more naturalistic figures in the author's other shorter fiction. Of course, character success or lack of it in the search for wholeness remains the purpose in the discussion of each story, regardless of chapter. And what the Introduction does, in part, is define the nature of that wholeness as relates to Lawrence's polemic essays; for the rest, it reviews evaluation of the shorter fiction by the critics.

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