D.H. Lawrence: Critique of Social Practices (References Snake, the North Country, and the Triumph of the Machine)

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Poetry is often used to make critical comment about particular social attitudes and practices. Through a wide range of techniques, D.H. Lawrence uses his poetry as a tool to scrutinise certain aspects of the early 20th century (1855 -1930). Much of his poetry portrays his opinions regarding modernity and industrialisation. In particular, poems such as Snake, The North Country and The Triumph of the Machine consider the effects these issues have on society. Lawrence uses figurative language, changing structure and style in order to present his ideas within the poem Snake. The poem depicts the internal battle between human instinct and social education, which is relative to Freudian theory. Lawrence establishes a negative view of socialisation and conformity by creatively portraying his critiques of particular social expectations. The language, structure and style of Snake depict the increasing distance between humankind and nature, and through this, Lawrence criticises relevant attitudes taught by society. In The North Country, Lawrence reprimands society’s views regarding industrialisation. The use of symbolism, metaphor and repetition in The North Country illustrate Lawrence’s disapproval of a society that worships technology. The Triumph of the Machine challenges the attitude that machinery should be allowed to take the place of what is natural. The imagery used within Triumph condemns the practice of rejecting nature. The use of techniques such as extended metaphor, pathetic fallacy and symbolism helps to convey Lawrence’s criticisms of various social practices, attitudes and expectations prevalent during the 20th century.

One of the main criticisms prominent in Lawrence’s work is that of humankind’s detachment from nature. This is evident in his poem The Triumph of the Machine, in which Lawrence scrutinises the effects of industrialisation, a movement which was instigated by humankind. The poem states that the world has been controlled by technology...
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