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Ursula's Anger in Chapter 23 of Women in Love: the Excessive Reaction of an “Angry Woman”?

Benjamin Bouche

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1. Excess?

1In Women in Love, Ursula Brangwen appears more than once as an angry woman, excessive in her reactions and behaviour. In the ''Excurse Chapter,'' Ursula quarrels violently with Birkin. She shouts at him, refuses to let him go and see Hermione, "stamp[s] her foot madly on the ground" and throws at him the rings he has given her. Can we consider her behaviour to be excessive or mad?

2“Excessive,” as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, refers to what is "more than necessary," an "outrageous or immoderate behaviour," socially reprehensible (the etymology testifies to the socially transgressive dimension of excess: from the old French excess, 14c., "excess, extravagance, outrage," from stem of ex-cedere: to go, go beyond, out (ex-)). Is Ursula's behavior excessive in this sense? No doubt it appears to be the manifestation of an excessive and irrational jealousy crisis. And this is how Birkin first assesses it, calling it a "degrading exhibition" (351). But maybe Ursula's anger is indeed necessary, a form of behaviour adapted to the deeply unequal social context in which it appears.

3The critical approach to the character of Ursula Brangwen is paradoxical, insofar as feminist critics have insisted on her frailty and passivity in order to denounce the brutally patriarchal bias in Lawrence's work. Ursula is "an incomplete creature" (Millett [1970]), who exists only in relation to Birkin, receiving from him her raison d'être and who, finally, in Simone de Beauvoir’s words, is forced “to renounce her own self, for his sake” (2014 [1949]: 382). This reading is a relevant one, and it seems difficult to dispute the fact that Lawrence draws on numerous gender stereotypes which the readings produced from the perspective of Women Studies have exposed and denounced.

4On the other hand, critics such as Peter Balbert (1985) object that Ursula is far from being "the epitome of passivity" that Kate Millett saw in her. He points out, on the contrary, that "critics have not been generous to the Ursula of Women in Love" (267). He puts forward the idea that Ursula's point of view in Women in Love is "at least as legitimate" as Birkin's theories.

5There can be no question of denying Lawrence's sexist conviction that men must "go ahead absolutely in front of their women" (Letters 3: 302). But this should not prevent us from broaching the question of the manner in which Ursula rebels against an established order and tries to transform a disadvantageous power relationship. Pierre Vitoux, who studied the various manuscript versions of the novel, and of chapter 23 in particular, gives a profoundly biased interpretation of this quarrel scene. According to Vitoux, the episode outlines the apprenticeship of Ursula who, thanks to Birkin, manages to overcome her old existence. Thus "the scene […] has to be the prelude to another stage in Ursula's progress," because "she has not yet come out of the shell of her ego to meet him on the new ground" (Vitoux 1976: 825). Vitoux focuses then on the end of the chapter, viewing the scene through Birkin's eyes and sharing his masculine prejudices. The same can be said of F.R. Leavis, when he writes that "in Ursula, Birkin finds something to be fought before the hope of a permanent relation can be assured" (1964 : 215). Ursula is, for Leavis, only "something to be fought." She thus forfeits any capacity of agency and legitimacy to be found in her own point of view. Even Balbert, who defends Ursula's point of view, describes it as a mere "corrective" to that of Birkin. It is important that we recall these remarks, if we are to understand why Ursula's behaviour can appear, especially from a masculine point of view, mad and excessive.

6The violent quarrel between Ursula and Birkin in the “Excurse” chapter shows that Ursula can resist the model of passivity and self-denial that is expected of women. It is true that she is not consciously determined to overthrow the social order which has oppressed her. Ursula is not a feminist activist; neither is she a silent victim of patriarchy. She appears rather as a dominated woman, locked within certain gender stereotypes, one who, from her childhood, has been submissive to patriarchy and who is striving to make her voice heard in a social universe that does everything to dispossess her of her speech and to disqualify what she says. She is an active and determined woman, placed in a situation of social vulnerability. Her situation is oppressive, it is however alterable. And it is this ambivalence that makes it interesting for us today. She does not theorize the class and gender domination to which she is subjected. She does however seek to oppose, very concretely, some of its actual effects. The question raised by the character of Ursula thus concerns the difficulties faced by a socially dominated person who is seeking to be heard, recognized and understood.

7The answer given in the text is more a practice of resistance than a theory: Ursula manages to be heard by Birkin by getting angry. As feminist theory has pointed out, to express anger means, for a western woman, to take the risk of appearing an "angry woman," over-emotional, irrational, excessive and mad (Chemaly 2018). Ursula gets angry and takes this risk in her dealings with different characters in the book. With Birkin however, the man whom she loves, the anger assumes a particular importance. When she gets angry, the excess of Ursula's reaction is habitually dismissed or downplayed: by her father, by Gerald, by Hermione, by Loerke, and even by Gudrun. And Birkin first reacts in similar fashion.

2. Ursula’s humiliation

8In chapter 22, before the “Excurse” chapter and the quarrel with Birkin, Ursula has met Hermione alone (the chapter is called “Woman to Woman”), in Birkin's new house. The text reflects the reality of the power relationships that dominate their encounter. Two dimensions must be taken into account: there is the question of the respective social situations of the two characters, and there is also the question of the intrinsic "vitality" of the two women. The balance of power thus forms a chiasm, since Ursula admires Hermione's ease and social mastery (she is "taken aback, rather attracted" (335)), but despises her lack of vitality, which makes her seem strangely empty ("in the darkness, she did not exist" (334). Conversely, Hermione deems Ursula to be her social inferior ("simply female," "truly vulgar," 335) while acknowledging her enviable vitality ("How she envied Ursula a certain unconscious positivity! Even her vulgarity!" 336)

9Hermione embodies everything that stands in the way of Ursula and Birkin’s establishing a satisfying relationship. As Ursula confesses to Birkin in chapter 23, "It's what Hermione stands for that I hate" (350). What then does Hermione stand for? Marina Ragachewskaya briefly explains that "Hermione represents class, status, power and control" (2019). While Hermione is not reducible to a strictly allegorical function, she does unquestionably symbolize a distinctive social position. She is unconventional in her dress and mannerisms, but embodies nevertheless a well-defined social position, that of a person who makes a social use of culture in order to justify a position of power or domination. Her culture and her money justify Hermione's attitude, affording her an unquestionable degree of social self-assurance, to be displayed "like jewels which conferred on her an unquestionable distinction, established her in a higher order of life" (335).

10It is this power relationship which drives Ursula crazy with rage: "It was strange, the unreasoning rage and violence Hermione roused in her, by her very presence" (344). This is not merely a superficial issue of social snobbery. Ursula feels so illegitimate in the face of Hermione as to feel that her very presence is a threat to her own existence: "[Hermione's] cool evidence seemed to put [Ursula] down at nothing" (334). Ursula is right then, when in chapter 23 she denies that her resentment is only a matter of jealousy, as if it were only a personal affair between Hermione and herself.

“I jealous! I - jealous! You are mistaken if you think that. I'm not jealous in the least of Hermione, she is nothing to me, not that!” And Ursula snapped her fingers. [...] It's what Hermione stands for that I hate. I hate it. It is lies, it is false, it is death. (350)

11Class war and power relations are thus in evidence in the opposition of the two characters. This goes beyond any merely interpersonal tension. Facing Hermione, Ursula feels her social inferiority, the shame of her condition, the fear of disappointing Birkin. She is made conscious of her rather fragile and recent social elevation. Her father had become a school handiwork instructor, a job that, in The Rainbow, had appeared to Ursula to be a great promotion. Her father had himself been impressed by the pompous character of the official title: "'Art and Handwork Instructor for the County of Nottingham' [...] he was going to be something, socially [...]. That was really a status. It was a position" (R 388). Ursula imagined that, thanks to her father's new job, she was going to live among the cultural elite of Beldover. Such profound naivety is evidence of the fact that Ursula comes really from a common class family, as she embarks on her attempted ascension of the cultural and social ladders. But for all that, she remains, socially speaking, an obscure provincial school teacher.

  • 1 Bourdieu (1979) distinguishes three states of cultural capital: i) " cultivated " dispositions (way (...)

12As for Hermione, she represents the grandeur of social power. From Ursula’s point of view, she appears as the embodiment of social accomplishment: "Hermione was established for ever, she herself [Ursula] was ephemeral and had not yet even arrived" (344). Hermione is the daughter of a baronet, she is wealthy, the owner of a flat in London and an imposing manor house in the country. Her brother sits in the House of Commons. She represents the cultivated upper class, for which culture is something obvious and natural, an atmosphere one breathes, something one possesses and that is part of one’s surrounding: an emanation of the art collections of art, of the piano, taken for granted as if it were part of a natural order into which one was born.1 Hermione speaks fluent Italian (while Ursula "knew nothing of the language," 342). She is often displaying her sense of irony, a trait admired by Ursula, who remarks the "delightful naked irony in Hermione," typical of a quality of upper-class distance from reality). She plays the piano (334), is perfectly at ease with the tea service and silverware, she has just come back from the south of France and plans to go to Florence to attend conferences devoted to the most avant-garde aesthetics and politics (341), while Ursula remains, after the travels of her youth, attached to her small provincial town.

13Faced with Birkin's complicity with this universe, Ursula feels excluded, "almost a parvenue in their old cultured milieu," (343). It is this profound and essential shame, characteristic of the members of the dominated classes, that gets her mad with rage. It is the humiliation of not being what she should be, not only different but inferior, which irritates Ursula. She is angry, because her life somehow doesn't matter for the world in which she now lives. Not all ways of life are equal, the social order legitimizes some tastes and practices rather than others. As Ursula notes: "Her [Ursula’s] convention was not their [Birkin and Hermione’s] conventions, their standards were not her standard. But they were established, they had the sanction and the grace of age" (343). Ursula feels trapped, she is out of place (she feels an ''intruder," an "outsider"). Escape finally proves to be the only solution to the symbolic violence that is exerted on her: Ursula feels that Hermione and Birkin "outraged her"(344). The manner in which she (so abruptly) flees from the room only makes her even more self-conscious and ashamed, insofar as it has exposed her to the unfavorable judgements of those who have witnessed the scene: "she knew she looked ill-bred, uncouth, exaggerated" (344 chapter 22).

3. A moment of crisis

14Birkin comes the day after this social humiliation, at the beginning of chapter 23, to offer Ursula a drive. The scene marks a turning point in the novel, and John Middleton Murry was perhaps not so "wrong-headed" (Leavis 1964: 231), when he saw in this chapter "the essential crisis of the book" - even though he was probably referring more to the end of the chapter, while also confessing that he did not understand much of its jargon (Murry 1921: 22). But it is in fact the beginning of the chapter that stages a crisis, a krisis, a moment of decision. The term "crisis" was actually added in the text by Lawrence, on the occasion of a correction. Pierre Vitoux explains this change by the fact that in the course of the revision "the conflict [between Ursula and Birkin in chapter 23] turns out to be creative, not destructive" (1976). There is indeed something "positive" in this conflict, and the drive can be understood as a symbol of the new relationship Lawrence defends in the book (etymologically wedding comes from *whed – which means to drive or to conduct, in particular to drive a woman back home (Benveniste 1993: 240). The important difficulty with the motor driving scene illustrates the problem of adapting an old conception to a modern context. Birkin does indeed, in a way, drive Ursula ''home,” but it is a symbolic and extra-social home: the wood at the end of the chapter. (The “Excurse” enacts a revision of the implications of wedding, in a modern context).

15The situation at the beginning of chapter 23 is thus socially less violent than in the previous chapter: there is no longer the physical presence of Hermione, nor the confinement in Birkin's relatively bourgeois house, with its silverware and carpets. The scene is unfolding outside, in a freer location, partly in the car, and the sole participants are Ursula and Birkin. But Birkin still continues to exercise social and sexual domination over Ursula: not only as a man in a patriarchal society, but also as a county inspector. For Birkin is, professionally, Ursula's superior. Ian Mackillop (1987) has pointed out the decisive role of school inspectors in the maintenance of social order at the time, and the various political decisions aimed at making it impossible for ordinary teachers to accede to the inspectorate (which was reserved for academics without experience of the profession and, more generally, for members of higher categories, or as Mackillop puts it, for "intelligent Oxbridge men with little or no teaching experience").

  • 2 Lawrence earned £100 a year as a teacher in Croydon.

16Birkin belongs to the middle class. He receives an income besides his salary, drives a car, he rents an apartment in London and offers pretty expensive rings to Ursula. He is certainly not upper-class: the rings are "second-hand" (346), and when he takes the train he travels third class (70), his income is a modest one ("about four hundred a year2"), he shares the cost of renting his London flat (76), and his social talent "somehow was never quite right." But between Ursula and himself, there is a social difference that is far from negligible, to which the text bears witness.

  • 3 "The social being, that peculiar creature that takes the place in our civilization of the slave in (...)

17When Birkin describes the relationship he wants to establish with Ursula as one between two stars in equilibrium, he seems to forget that his status places him in a dominant position in relation to the young woman, and that the “balance” is threatened by the social differences separating them. Lawrence is conscious of these difficulties, and even if he criticizes the "social being" and "social consciousness,3" he is really aware of the importance of social issues, and the way they can separate people. As he notes in Myself Revealed: "Class makes a gulf, across which all the best human flow is lost" (LE 180). F.R. Leavis wrote that for Lawrence "the pride of class-superiority [...] appears as the enemy of life" (Leavis 1964: 76-7). But in fact it is not only a question of "the pride of class-superiority." As Lawrence explains, it is more a question of the "indefinable gulf" between people from different social backgrounds. Describing the relationships between the "'normal' youths" and the "paying student" at Nottingham University he notes:

We met, we talked, we exchanged a modicum of ideas. But there was the indefinable gulf between the two sets. It was not snobbism, exactly. It was something deeper. It was something in the very way the heart beats. (LE 37)

18Lawrence was not very keen on social climbing, and he was not snobbish. But he knew and described in his books the importance of social issues and social conflicts. Ursula’s "resentment" (339) in Women in Love has a social origin and is not only psychological or individual, it concerns ''the very way the heart beats.'' Ursula is angry not only because she is jealous but because she doesn't speak Italian, because she is not used to silverware, because she has not read modern aesthetic treatises, and because all this allows Hermione to speak to her from above, to despise her, to identify her lack of cultural capital with a lack of personal value. Ursula is ashamed to confess that she is angry, and why she is angry: out of a sense of social humiliation, the impossibility of expressing what she truly feels. She is ashamed of the way she appears to Hermione and Birkin. As dominants, they can impose their vision of social values upon others. And here it particularly implies their capacity to interpret Ursula’s anger in terms of its strictly depoliticized and personal motivation. From their point of view, Ursula gets angry because she is jealous, because she is incapable of controlling her emotions, because she is irrational. To be socially dominated means to be dispossessed of the power of giving meaning to one's own experiences. Ursula's anger finds its source in this dispossession, in this shame of appearing as others see her, as others blame her for being what she is. Her point of view doesn’t matter, she must remain a self-silencing and powerless woman. It is her role, it is what is expected of her.

19Birkin dominates Ursula, whether he is aware of it or not. First he initiates the excurse and drives the car. But there is much more than that. While driving "carelessly," he barely avoids an accident and Ursula is frightened. She has good reasons to be frightened, but she merely asks Birkin, shyly, if his behaviour is not dangerous, to what he simply answers that it is not, before going on to talk of something else (346). Ursula's feelings are dismissed, neutralized, made invisible. They do not matter. Her feelings cannot really exist, because they are not received and understood. More generally, Birkin allows himself to skip her questions, or to answer nonchalantly ("he answered vaguely. He was not very much interested" (348)). On the contrary she listens to him and always answers his questions. The text also suggests that Ursula is "superstitious," (347) that "driving in a motorcar excited her" (347) and that she is afraid that her fingers are too big (her physique is presented throughout the book as betraying a common class origin: wide hips, strong legs, thick fingers). Ursula looks childish and naïve, and it is not really surprising that she should finally be located by Birkin at a lower level of understanding, as someone who needs to make progress through him: "Ursula was still at the emotional personal level." (348) Simone de Beauvoir denounced Lawrence’s tendency to write - the formula is quoted by Kate Millett - "counseling manuals for women" (Millett 239). But although this criticism is generally right, it becomes frankly paradoxical when applied to the quarrel scene in chapter 23. When Pierre Vitoux sees in the dispute between Ursula and Birkin only "the prelude to another stage in Ursula's Progress," (1976), we can reasonably ask how Ursula's words are received and make the assumption that the class prejudices which prevent Birkin from understanding Ursula are probably also those of several readers and critics of Lawrence. Many things can be invisible in Lawrence’s work, when read by middle-class white men readers, and every scholar must perform his own socio-analysis to try and approach the text from different social perspectives. In the quarrel scene, it is clearly Birkin who learns something from Ursula.

20But why does Ursula become angry? Because as a socially dominated woman she is expected to be silent and smile. Already when she complained to Gerald about the mare, everybody made her feel she exceeded her rights: "they all think I'm an interfering female." She is also said to be "an intruder" (343), "an impertinent person" (485) and "an insufferable outsider" (487). She remains alone with her anger, dispossessed of the possibility of expressing herself and being understood, devoid of the possibility of externalizing her anger without immediately being reminded of the shame of what she socially is: a small provincial parvenue, who does not master any of the codes of the cultivated middle-class and who has no self-control. It is in this context of radical imbalance that the quarrel finally explodes.

4. Ursula’s resistance

21Ursula is deprived of the power to speak and to be heard. She is continually reduced to her social inferiority, to her inadequate physique, to her too sharp or too spontaneous reactions. But she goes on nevertheless, defending her position in "foolish persistence," "obtrusiveness" or with "vulgarity." Her strength shows up precisely in her capacity to resist, where everything is urging her to recognize she is wrong. She can’t argue rationally because, given the reality of the balance of power, she is a priori condemned to be wrong. The advocates of rational debate are naïve in their belief that one can argue freely and equally on all subjects, when the capacity to express oneself and to prevail depends largely on extra-linguistic elements rather than purely linguistic skills (Bourdieu 1982). To prevail in discourse requires much more than arguments. And indeed Lawrencian characters usually mobilize very few arguments. What Ursula blames Birkin for is not logically outlined. But that does not mean that her way of speaking and acting is irrational and senseless.

22It is, however, this supposed irrationality which is held against Ursula, in a way that reveals the class prejudices with which the text bristles. In chapter 22, Hermione already thought that "Ursula could not understand, never would understand, could not be more than the usual jealous and unreasonable female [...] no mind, it was useless to appeal to reason" (340). As for Birkin, in the argument of chapter 23 he repeats four times to Ursula: "you are a fool" (349-350). This way of identifying the inability to understand a certain point of view as an inability to understand anything is a typical strategy in the maintenance of social domination. This "racism of 'intelligence'” (racisme de l’intelligence) (Bourdieu 1993 [1978]) transforms social differences into differences of nature, justifying a social superiority by naturalizing it. The strategy is clear for Ursula, who responds to Birkin by claiming her difference and making fun of his supposed "cleverness":

“Ah, you are a fool,” he cried, bitterly, with some contempt.
“Yes, I am. I am a fool. And thanks God for it. I'm too big a fool to swallow your cleverness.” (WIL 350)

23Birkin's cleverness is spotted by Ursula as something one tries to impose on her, force her to "swallow." The entire social order conspires with Birkin in the legitimation of his intelligence and the disqualification of Ursula's understanding of the situation. What is in evidence here is the effect of a social imposition, of symbolic violence by intimidation, to which Ursula is dramatically confronted. She knows that between her truth and Birkin's there is a struggle, and that she will lose.

24As soon as there is a social space, there is a struggle, there is a struggle for domination, there is a dominant pole and a dominated pole, and from that moment there are antagonistic truths. Whatever one does, the truth is antagonistic. If one thing is true, it is that truth is a stake in struggles. (Bourdieu 1993 [1977]: 59)

25It is because truth is "a stake in struggles" and because Birkin is in a position of domination toward Ursula that the situation is likely played out so as to favour his point of view: namely that he is right in obeying social conventions and in going to see Hermione, and that Ursula is merely a jealous and arrogant woman. Ursula gets angry because anger is all that is left to her to be heard, and she relies on Birkin to hear and understand her, if she is not to be disqualified, as she usually is when she tries to express her point of view. "That was what the other men had done [...] they would not admit it, they would turn her to nothingness [...] And Birkin, would he acknowledge, or would he deny her?" (337).

26This is what is at stake in chapter 23: this is the recognition that Ursula seeks to obtain at all costs. To obtain it, she is forced to get angry, to foil Birkin's automatic responses that are simply dictated by class prejudices and class automatisms. Ursula gets angry because the social situation in which she is placed makes it extremely difficult for her to be understood. In so far as she has begun to climb the social ladder she can only be misunderstood, betrayed, reduced to nothing, by her family and also by the middle-class she is beginning to associate with. Anger is her last chance, if she is to get attention and be recognized for who she is. But the more she becomes angry, the more she risks being disqualified in the eyes of those who listen to her. Her nervousness and obstinacy arouse rejection and contempt from Loerke, Gudrun and Gerald (487), but also from Birkin (350). Ursula is not only a ''different voice,'' capable of being a "corrective female" (Balbert 1985) for Birkin's ideas. More than that, her situation also reflects the sense of social isolation and rejection that Lawrence had experienced since childhood.

27Unable to be heard, Ursula is condemned to silence or anger. Violence appears as a desperate recourse on her part, as a cry of inarticulate rage: she "stamped her foot madly on the ground" (my emphasis) to the point that Birkin "winced that she would strike him" (350). Then she attacks Birkin on "the foulness of [his] sex life" (351) and on the justification of his attitude, which she considers dishonest: "you're such a liar" (351). The whole attack is ad hominem. It does not rest on any argument, which does not mean that the point being made is false or irrelevant, but that its power is more emotional than intellectual.

28Birkin first refuses these criticisms and tries to disqualify Ursula's point of view, adopting a superior and detached air: "'this is a degrading exhibition,’ he said coolly" (351). He does not enter into a reasoned discussion with Ursula, he does not confront his own vision to that of the young woman, he merely disqualifies a priori what she says because of the way she says it. What is judged "degrading" is Ursula's anger and "excessive" attitude, which Birkin's apparent calm serve only to reveal, by contrast ("he said coolly").

29Birkin recognizes however that Ursula may be right. But he never says it, and the beginning of recognition is followed by a game of to-and-fro hesitation: Ursula is jealous, she lacks decency and everything she says is worthless. She must throw the rings at him (one of which hits his face) and he must move away so that he may recognize the accuracy of her position. When at last "he gave up his old position" (353), it is both physically (he sits further away) and morally (his point of view is finally transformed, he welcomes the legitimacy of Ursula’s point of view, at last acknowledging it and understanding it, albeit only partially and temporarily). Ursula is not "right" and Birkin "wrong," but Birkin has to quit the “view from above” to be able to see with Ursula, without claiming to be her or to see exactly what she sees. Ursula's anger leads Birkin to adopt a multidimensional vision, more complete and more objective. This sharing of perspectives is a condition for their intense meeting at the end of the chapter, and maybe a condition for the possibility of marriage, in a modern context.

30This final phase of the quarrel (when Ursula returns a little later she will give Birkin a flower and ask, with a naïve look on her face: "did I abuse you?" (354)) raises the question of the recognition of the legitimacy of violence. To what extent are members of the dominated populations forced to use violence to be heard? Are Ursula’s anger and violence excessive? We can answer on the contrary that Ursula’s anger is perfectly necessary and appropriate to the social context. She looks strong and she is indeed strong, but she is strong in a world where her voice is automatically silenced, a world in which she is forced to get angry in order to be heard. From this point of view, the very fact of thinking that Ursula "exaggerates" is symptomatic of a reading that is not socially neutral but which reveals a number of biases. Social privilege is always blind to the violence that is exercised on those who are less privileged. Do we see the violence Ursula faces throughout the book? Hermione and Birkin do not see it, as they don't see that their manner of being refined, superior and condescending, is violent and humiliating for Ursula. This is why they can understand her anger only as a sign of irrationality, as a properly excessive behavior, as a form of madness. They lack the multidimensional vision, and so maybe we do too.

31Ursula is not only "skeptical," as Balbert says. She is not content with "correcting" Birkin's theories with a more "feminine" view. Her wrath in chapter 23 is not only the consequence of Birkin's "indecision" (Balbert 1985). Ursula is explicitly opposed to a part of what Birkin is, to his class ethos, to his social prejudices, to the unconscious arrogance that goes along with his privileged status and his narrow vision, with all his bourgeois attachment as symbolized by his relationship with Hermione. Ursula’s anger finally makes it possible for Ursula and Birkin to detach themselves from a social order perceived as violent, conventional and moribund. The quarrel is not a token of excess and Ursula is not mad. The quarrel and the anger are the vehicles of Ursula’s need for recognition and empowerment.

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1 Bourdieu (1979) distinguishes three states of cultural capital: i) " cultivated " dispositions (way of speaking, knowledge), ii), goods (collections, musical instruments, etc.) and iii) institutionalized forms (academic titles, competition prizes).

2 Lawrence earned £100 a year as a teacher in Croydon.

3 "The social being, that peculiar creature that takes the place in our civilization of the slave in the old civilizations" (210). And in the fragment of an early draft: "The social consciousness can only be analytical, critical, constructive but not creative, sensational but not passionate, emotional but without true feeling. It can know, but it cannot be " (251).

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Electronic reference

Benjamin Bouche, “Ursula's Anger in Chapter 23 of Women in Love: the Excessive Reaction of an “Angry Woman”?”Études Lawrenciennes [Online], 50 | 2019, Online since 02 October 2019, connection on 04 December 2021. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Benjamin Bouche


Benjamin BOUCHE, holds a Master of philosophy from Sorbonne University. He teaches  philosophy and medical ethic in Versailles. He is preparing a PhD at Paris Nanterre University under the supervision of Professor Crowley on the theme: “D.H.Lawrence and the Problem of Thought.”


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Études lawrenciennes est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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