January 30, 2015
The Magic Land Lawrence uses comparison, imagery, and symbolism to separate the woman from the rest of her family and capture her desire for a different life. While the Brangwen’s are content with their way of life, the woman is fascinated by the unknown. The woman sees the urban cities as magic and knowledge as the most important human characteristic.
The comparison and contrast of the Brangwen’s, the woman, and the people of “the magic land” immediately alert the reader to the woman’s desires. “It was enough for the men…” Lawrence wrote, “But the woman wanted another form of life than this.” (Lines 1, 15). The woman describes “her own menfolk; fresh, slow, full-built men, masterful enough, but easy, native to the earth, lacking outwardness and range of motion”, but she calls “the vicar, dark and dry and small beside her husband, yet a quickness and a range of being that made Brangwen, in his large geniality, seem dull and local” (Lines 45-47, 48-50). The idea of outwardness versus inwardness exemplifies the contrast between the two ways of life. The woman sees her family as inward; they were not seeking progress or knowledge or innovation. The vicar and the city are depicted as outward; they were “fighting outwards to knowledge…men moved dominant and creative” (Lines 34-35, 23). The woman craves the life of an urban woman, seeking knowledge and truth over the “pain and death…in their blood, earth and sky, and beast and green plants” (Lines 8-9).
The imagery in the passage speaks to the reader’s emotions. Not only does the reader hear the woman’s wishes and desires but also experiences them. The sensory diction connects the reader directly to the story and to the woman’s situation. The Brangwen men “lived full and surcharged, their senses full fed, their faces always turned to the heat of the blood, staring into the sun, dazed with looking towards the source of