The Virgin And The Gypsy Essay, Research Paper
This novel is very intriguing and teaches lessons of morality, religion, and of life and death intended for those with imagination and insight.
The author s style contributes deeply to the intrigue and true meaning to this novel. The author s use of imagery makes tensions in the story vivid and emphatic. In this story there is a re-occurring tension between religion and desire. The tension between religion and desire is most clearly demonstrated between the characters of Yvette and the rector. Yvette was brought up in a world of religious conventions and beliefs, an environment of forgiveness, love, and morality. This world is later realized to truly be a world of repression towards all feelings of passion and desire; not the environment of forgiveness, love, and morality Yvette and the readers are lead to believe. This starts the conflict between religion and desire, and confuses Yvette greatly because her religious upbringing denies and contradicts all her natural instincts of love, passion, and sexuality. The rector and Yvette do not share the same understanding of love. They are both very different in their thoughts and expressions, of what love is. The narrator in the story tells us what the rector thinks of Cynthia, his lost wife. He describes her as the pure white snow-flower (p.6) and expresses that her husband thought of her on inaccessible heights that she was throned in lone splendor aloft their lives, never to be touched (p.7) This would have the reader believe that Cynthia is considered in the rector s eyes to be like god not bodily in his life. At another point in the novel the narrator informs the reader that the rector believes Cynthia to be sacred and that she was enshrined in his heart, as if she were a religious idol, never simply expressing any love or desire for his lost wife. It s like the rector has moral religious love for his lost wife, and not passion or desire, like the love Yvette feels for the gypsy. When Yvette matures and realizes that she feels differently than her family, she undergoes a change in her heart, and attitude. Yvette s father picks up on her change and resents her for it because the rector wishes Yvette to be pure and clean like him, or her sister Lucille who turned out the way the rector intended. Therefore not expressing or experiencing true love. The gypsy also wishes for Yvette to be pure and clean, but in a completely different way than the rector. He wishes for her to be pure to her desires and emotions. Her wants and need to be seen or recognized as a woman of flesh and blood, and not a symbol of innocence like the way her father molded Lucille. Life and death are also described very well with imagery. Cynthia was described as a sign of life, because she was true to her heart and her desires, while the matter was described as a symbol of death. The contrast between Cynthia and the matter is very descriptive and reflects the author s use of imagery very well. The narrator describes Cynthia as a great glow, a flow of life like a sun in the home always associating her presence with brightness .and glamour. (pgs.5-8). These descriptions of Cynthia give a sense of life and warmth. The author created an image for the reader so wonderfully that when this glamorous creature left; she took all life with her. The rector turned bitter and resentful because in the rector s eyes Cynthia conveyed purity and freshness, when she left she took all her pure qualities with her and she left behind a nettle , a toad , and a gross woman to take her place, the matter. In contrast to Cynthia the matter appears to be destructive, ugly, nosy, and insignificant, the utmost representation of death. It is when the matter comes to take over the lives of the Saywell s they all move to the rectory. The rectory was described by the narrator to be dark, and never fresh. The characters within the rectory were often described as gray faced. The rectory itself is bleak, ugly and made of stone, cold and lifeless like those who lived within it. This description is a very vivid representation of the use of imagery. In contrast the gypsies who are described as wearing red, yellow, and green , the gypsy woman is described by the narrator as wearing bright colors of pink , gold and green . This description makes us visualize freshness, life, and the presence of great freedom. The author s chosen style of drawing attention to the true symbolism of his text is a very clever means of pointing out what he wishes for the reader to comprehend, the author used double meanings in desire, and in his description of life and death. He used unpleasant adjectives and sayings to represent death, and he used light beautiful adjectives to describe life. In his theme for religion the author uses descriptions which have double meanings. An example of this would be in all of his descriptions of Cynthia. He uses beautiful adjectives to create a powerful image of a pure un-soiled beauty. The author uses lingo and irony in his description of even the gypsy. Irony is brilliantly used to describe the character s contrasts. The irony of Yvette s and the rector s freedom, and desires is quite interesting. It s ironic that Yvette has more freedom and knowledge of love than the rector does. The irony of the repression and conformity of the community is also well stated by Mr. Lawrence in his novel. It is ironic that a family so intent on religion yet does not demonstrate love for one another or even their belief of goodness. It s ironic that the way Yvette was brought up was in an atmosphere of cunning self sanctification , the opinion that the Saywell s bestow holiness upon themselves and create complete stability in which one could parish safely . The irony in this is that a flood wipes out their house and claims the life of the matter, as well as the fact that the rector is not entirely holly. He resents his own child and his lost wife. He acts as though they are evil and not worthy of his respect. The Saywell s use their religion and beliefs to deceive their community, depleting them of any kind of self sanctification, honor or respect. The biggest suggestion that irony is used by the author is in his description of the gypsy who is also a symbol of freedom and desire is described in the author s special type of lingo the gypsy is considered almost holy. Pure lines of his face, of his straight pure nose suave purity of all his body a purity like a living sneer . The fact that the expectations of Yvette s father drove her to not wishing to be like him or her sister; but drove her to the traditions, conventions and her wanting to be accepted by the gypsy, even though she is of a higher class than he.
There only needs to be wide eyes to spot symbols in Mr. Lawrence s novel. The characters are very symbolic and pay a very deep role to the intrigue of the story. Cynthia and the gypsy are considered good and pure, while the matter and the rector are considered bad, dark, and beastly. The rector is described as snarling doggish a cornered rat and a mongrel . This suggests that the matter domesticates the rector, and this also goes to support that he is an unbeliever in life because if he were a believer he would have not been described as one of the lowest forms of vermin. The gypsy is free, powerful and still ironically described as pure and a believer in life. DH Lawrence s reference to animals Is implying that deep down we are all animals; and in a civilized world it is possibly human nature on which we have created and based our morals and values. By having within us our true emotions and knowing who we really are, not what we have been told to be, is the whole reason why there is any reference to animals in this novel. Animals do not have to be told how to act, they base their existence on instinct and nature, the way the gypsies and Yvette wished to base their lives. It is interesting D.H. Lawrence adds to the intrigue by making the uncivilized animals more admirable than the tamed, and how they seem to live a better life. The outlook on life is an important role in this novel. There seems to be two categories throughout the story, a category of life believers, and a category of life nonbelievers. By looking for symbols and the author s lingo describing holy, or respectful qualities in certain characters, the reader can come to the conclusion that Cynthia, Major Eastwood, Mrs. Fawcett, and the gypsies are all life believers. This adds intrigue to this novel because the life believers help make Yvette who she is and the life unbelievers like her father, the matter, and her aunt Cissie are those who wish to repress her, and her true value of life. Cynthia is an image of life and vitality, something to be admired. Major Eastwood is honorable and resigned his commission in the army to live for love. Mrs. Fawcett divorces her husband to be free to love. The gypsies are never tied down to anything so this makes them free and spirited, closer to life. Yvette symbolizes someone who cannot get to the point of being a believer. She doesn t quite understand herself or if she will risk being a believer. Yvette symbolizes fear and indecision, a person in a community who is afraid to believe in themselves, the type of person who would rather believe in the common way of society and not stray from the norm. No matter how much Yvette wishes to be free and be able to be true to herself, she is still stuck in life with unbelievers who are intent on destroying her, and would rather see her miserable like them, than see her happy. Since this story ties into religion and the morals and values of religious people, the reader also becomes aware of some symbols of church practice. The dipping of the cup into the river is a symbol of baptism, and the dream of the gypsy is a dream of cleanliness, and also a dream of truth. It is a reminder that the truth will set you free, and lead you into making the right decisions. The flood is a symbol of re-birth, the flood wiped out the dark, dull stone house, and giving Yvette a second chance at the life she wishes to pursue.
The characters are a very important role in the novel and are very diversified. Each character is unique and opinionated which adds contrast and intrigue. Cynthia left her husband for another man, but in her husband s eyes is still considered as pure. The rector is an odd man. Even though his wife left him for another man, he worships her as if she were his god. Perhaps this emphasizes his feelings and beliefs towards her, which are holy and without desire. He does not know the meaning of love, or desire so the reader is lead to believe that his beliefs of holiness, and of purity are his means of recognizing love.
This novel was very symbolic and had an extensive vocabulary. It was very intriguing and kept the reader s interest throughout the whole novel. I would recommend this novel to anyone who would like an exercise for his or her mind. There is a lot of insight needed to interpret this novel, but the challenge only adds to the intrigue.