An analysis on how D.H Lawrence portrays the theme of freedom in his two stories In the two narratives, The Shades of Spring and Things by D.H Lawrence, the theme of freedom is portrayed through the text. In both stories, Lawrence attempts to express his own views of freedom and explain to the reader why it is important that people have freedom, in whatever context, today. Each short story reveals a theme of freedom, although the style in which D.H Lawrence represents that freedom varies between each narrative. In addition, the two stories have two totally different plots, character personalities, and ideas.
Along with this, both stories describe many different themes. However, Lawrence seems to have brought up the theme of freedom in both of these stories, most probably to emphasize the importance of the ability and try to get the reader to appreciate that they should be thankful that they have freedom today. In the Shades of Spring, freedom is depicted through descriptions involving the environment and its nature. The best example is when the main character, D.H Lawrence, describes the surrounding environment in every new scene that arises as the story progresses. For example, in one of the story’s opening scenes, Lawrence describes the landscape, which can be seen from Syson’s position; Syson is the main character of the story.
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When Syson arrives enters this new scenic landscape, Lawrence begins describing the surrounding in terms of the flowers, the streams, the “pools of bluebells,” and the “ice-water blue lakes.” “Ah, isn’t it lovely,” Syson exclaims in the text when he sees this area for the first time. In Lawrence’s detailed description of how Syson has never seen the countryside looking so beautiful before, Lawrence forebodes that Syson is reflecting on his life and is trying to say that his freedom allowed him to see the beauty of nature’s setting. Not only does Lawrence express this theme in his descriptions, but it is also apparent that the theme is described in the dialogue of Syson. Again with Syson’s dialogue, Syson tries to express how free he is in how he talks about the environment.
In addition to this, Syson’s perception of the environment also portrays this same idea. An example of this is when Syson talks to Hilda, and Hilda replies to one of Syson’s questions, saying, “I am like a plant…I can only grow in my own soil”. Lawrence explains to the reader that Syson was trying to show that Hilda didn’t have the freedom he had, and that is why their relationship couldn’t start again, as Syson had wanted it to be. The theme of freedom can be expressed in the dialogue, descriptions, and character perceptions in The Shades of Spring.
In Lawrence’s other short story, Things, freedom can be seen through the family’s life in the storyline. The theme is expressed through how Lawrence describes the way the family lives. Like it says in the story, “the family living free is the answer to a beautiful life.” In the story’s opening paragraph, Lawrence emphasizes that no matter what else was going on with the family, they were free, and that is all that matters. This is clear when Lawrence states, “still – they were free. Free!” He also says later that “to be free is to live one’s own life!” In this quote Lawrence makes, he expresses his own opinion on freedom. Valerie, the main character, has the ambition to live a free life in this story. This is apparent when we see how much Valerie pushes her son Erasmus to lead the same life as her.
She forces him to live a life similar to that of the American dream and exclaims how “giving up his freedom would mean giving up his full and beautiful life.” The words ‘full and beautiful life’ appear throughout the text and seem to pose some importance for Lawrence himself. An interesting point to make about this story is that America itself is used as a symbol of an un-free country in the story. In the middle of the story, Valerie explains how they had been “free people, living a full and beautiful life,” and how moving to America had changed all that. This becomes more apparent nearing the end of the story when Erasmus, the son, tells how he would not give up that “freedom which he believed in” so much.
In Things, the revelation of the theme of freedom is much easier to understand than with The Shades of Spring. Through the in-depth analysis of the text, it is obvious that there is a theme of freedom seen in both short stories by D.H. Lawrence. Even so, this is the case; Lawrence depicts freedom in different ways in the two stories. In The Shades of Spring, the theme of freedom is defined as the freedom of being able to go anywhere and make your own free choices. It is expressed through Lawrence’s intense detail to nature and other relevant surroundings. In Things, we look at freedom in how to be free to live one’s own life. In Things, Lawrence is trying to state that being free and being free to make your own decisions in life without someone else making them for you is necessary if you wish to live ‘a full and beautiful life’, as Lawrence puts it.
The stories differ in the way the theme of freedom is used, but there is also a rather big difference in the way the theme of freedom is represented in each of the texts. Each story follows a certain style of description, which Lawrence uses to portray his themes and ideas. In Things, Lawrence focuses more upon a family and their life, looking specifically at their ambitions and aims in life. In the other story, The Shades of Spring, Lawrence uses nature to illustrate and symbolize a sense of freedom within the text. Also, what appears to be apparent is the detail that Lawrence uses symbols more often to describe his opinion about freedom in, The Shades of Spring, whereas, in Things, his opinion is more clear right from the beginning of the story.
Even though Lawrence uses different techniques to describe his theme of freedom, his opinion and his personal message to the reader appear to be the same. This message is that we should be thankful that we are free and able to do whatever we want and what is best for us without someone making our minds up for us. In a simple context, he is trying to say that we can live a happy life if we have freedom. Lawrence must have had some personal motivation to include this theme in more than one story. We can also see this theme used in other D.H Lawrence stories, another good example being The Horse Dealer’s Daughter.
In this story, the main theme being represented was that ‘life controls us.’ This is connected to Freedom again; as we see in this story, Mabel, the main character, can’t control her life, and we see a depressing life being formed at the start of the story as a result of this. Lawrence is trying to tell people to turn this around, make yourself control your life, and be independent because, at the end of the day, it is freedom that makes us happy.