Sexuality is a valuable method to extend the line of content and fortify the implication of the novel. However, many people never notice this point because the issue of sex is so sensitive. They confuse the sexuality with pornography and feel shameful about it. Actually, the sexuality in literary works has its own purpose and usually contains no desire for arousing sexual pleasure. D. H. Lawrence and John Updike are the two masters on using sex elements in their novel-writings. Sons and Lovers and Rabbit, Run are their respective masterpieces. This paper firstly talks about the essence of sex with the theory of Sigmund Freud, then scenes by scenes analyzes the different roles the sexuality plays in these two books. There are two kinds of sexuality: psychosexuality and sensual sexuality. Furthermore, the feature of each sex element will appear different when the demand and background have been changed. By analyzing the altered sexual narration of them, the paper will reveal the different dilemmas of the two writers, their different attitudes and their different ultimate goals they want to achieve through sexuality.
Key Words: John Updike, D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, Rabbit, Run, Sexuality.
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Brief introduction of two writers and their works 1
1.2 The concept of sex 3
1.3 The theory of Freud 5
2 The Sex Elements in Sons and lovers 7
2.1 Outside the novel: the meaning of sex in Lawrence’s mind 7
2.2 Inside the novel: Sex as the key to deconstruct the characters’ psychology 7
2.2.1 Miriam: Sex as an act of sacrifice 7
2.2.2 Mrs. Morel: Her psychosexuality with her sons as the substitution of her husband 9
2.2.4 William: the psychosexuality with the mother as the model of lover and the obstacle 10
2.2.5 Clara: sex as a healing of her wounded pride. 11
3. The Sex Elements in Rabbit, Run 13
3.1 Sexual description as a weapon to revenge the rotten society. 13
3.2 Winning in sex: An androcentric ideology of Rabbit 14
3.3 Sex: A betrayal from religion 16
4. The different answers from John Updike and D. H. Lawrence: 18
5. Conclusion: 20
Sex Elements: different roles in Rabbit, Run and Sons and Lovers
1.1 Brief introduction of two writers and their works
John Updike (1932-2009) is one of the most prolific and significant writers in the contemporary America. Once majoring in painting, he applies his sensibility of art in afterwards novel-writing. “One of only three writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once (the others being Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner), Updike published more than twenty novels, more than a dozen short-story collections, as well as poetry, art and literary criticism and children’s books during his career.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Updike). The novels of Updike mainly describe the life of “the American small town, Protestant middle class”, dealing with the various issues such as politics, morality, individuality. But among all these issues, Updike, resembling his predecessor Hawthorne, joins in the road of investigating the complex variables among sex, sin and salvation (Donald J. Greiner, 1989). As his masterpiece, Rabbit, Run inclusively is involved in these variables. Harry, the protagonist, the once high-school superstar runs away from his alcoholic wife and their messed-up life, searches his salvation between religion and sex as he runs among family, Ruth( a prostitute) and Eccles (the minister). Then the book inevitably deals with plenty of sexual description, which later on become the so-called testimony for those “moral” critics because it is too naturalistic. Some of Updike’s novels are even required for modification to pass the censorship.
The influence of Rabbit, Run is great around the world, but critics are more concerning about the act of running, evading mentioning of sexual elements, which they think would make the novel somehow pornographic. Like CS Burhans Jr expresses in his article Things Falling Apart: Structure and Theme in "Rabbit, Run"(1973): Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom moves, like his namesake, in the closing trap of ever more frantic and tightening circles. The novel is built on such circles, beginning with a wide geographical one and ending in the disappearing point of a subjective one.
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