The idea and significance of religion in “The Virgin and the Gipsy” by D.H Lawrence

According to Herbert (2006), The Virgin and the Gipsy is the fairy tale-like story of Yvette Saywell, a 19-year-old rector’s daughter chafing against the moral life unbelievers that make up her family(The Virgin and the Gipsy and Other Stories, edited by Herbert, Michael & Jones, Bethan, & Vasey, Lindeth). The plot of this fascinating and thrilling novel is as unpredictable and gripping as possible. I was reading being at home all alone. I was sitting in my chair; I was absorbed in the story when it suddenly occurred to me that I totally impressed. Trying to ignore my intense fears, I was going on reading. My wish to catch the main idea of this novel began to seem frantic. The characters appeared to be convincing and incredibly original, so I was going through with the heroes of the Lawrence’s book. When I finished, words and snatches of conversations echoed around my head, so I could not sleep.

The tale, however, tells about two Anglican vicar’s daughters, Yvette and Lucille, who return from overseas to a drab, lifeless vicarage in the post-war East Midlands. Their mother run off, clearly, it was not a topic for any conversation among the family. A blind and selfish grandmother along with her mean spirited dominates in a home and, besides, is compared to a toad or even a reptile. Everyone in the family hates her. To be honest, like the toad that snaps its jaws on all the bees exiting the hive and devouring all life around it, she absorbs the entire family’s energy and life force. Lawrence (1992) stated, They called her The Mater. She was one of those physically vulgar, clever old bodies who had got her own way all her life by buttering the weaknesses of her men-folk. Very quickly, she took her cue. The rector still loved his delinquent wife, and would love her till he died. Therefore hush! The rector’s feeling was sacred. In his heart was enshrined the pure girl he had wedded and worshipped (The Virgin and the Gipsy). Sisters try mostly everyday to have fun in their lives. In consequence, Yvette encounters a Gypsy, including his family; moreover, such meeting reinforces her disenchantment with the oppressive domesticity of the vicarage. Further still, she starts to feel something different from the admiring as earlier. It can be called a sexual curiosity, which she has not felt before. Father threatens her with the asylum, when he finds out about her friends, and Yvette realises that at his heart her father, too, is mean spirited and shallow. Furthermore, the ending of the novel is rather interesting: one of the daughters is rescued during a surprise flood that washes through the home and drowns the grandmother. Surprisingly, the rescuer of Yvette is the free-spirited Gypsy. As I think, this flood can be understood as a metaphor for washing away the old, oppressive life, in this way welcoming the new freedom. Gypsy is believed to become mundane and ordinary, after we discover the Gypsy’s name at the end of the novel, ironically, the mystique is taken away. According to Lawrence (1992), But after Granny’s funeral, she received a little letter, dated from some unknown place.

Dear Miss, I see in the paper you are all right after your ducking, as is the same with me. I hope I see you again one day, maybe at Tideswell cattle fair, or maybe we come that way again. I come that day to say goodbye! and I never said it, well, the water give no time, but I live in hopes. Your obdt. servant Joe Boswell.

And only then she realised that he had a name (The Virgin and the Gipsy). The temple in the story, I think, symbolizes institution, the rectory and possibly religion. The gypsy, however, has no religion at all either religion is a sphere Lawrence is against. Moreover, Lawrence sees the religion as another thing that the life unbelievers have. Moving onto the symbolic character of gypsy, I must admit that he, having no roots, no class and or hierarchy, is seen as a kind of a life force by Yvette. They are believed to be very free, lacking the responsibility.

Yvette, however, sees there lifestyle as rebellious and a revolt against society. Moreover, Yvette is rather temperamental, strong willed, and aware of her father’s degrading unbelief, the worm which was his heart’s core. She is believed to be enjoying her character, which is contrary and openly contemptuous of her middle-class, overtly moral, she also covertly disturbs family. It becomes harder and harder to leave her exposures to life.

Talking about symbols the rector’s doggish appearance should be mentioned. Being referred to a domesticated house dogs, calling themselves men, all men are shown as unbelievers. However, the mongrel is not pure. It is just a step down from a pure breed. Ironically, the Mater, being simbolised with a toad, which is killed when the farmer smashes it with a stone, is killed by the very thing she stands for. The gypsy is a kind of outsider. Moreover, under the influence of the absent mother, an adulterous couple Yvette encounters, and the defiant gipsy who endures in opposition, she is forced into a confrontation with her sneering fathera confrontation, which brings out his hidden evil and self-righteousness, as well. I was impressed with Yvette being often compared to a snowdrop. Being a virgin is not only reason of it; it is also can be explained with snowdrops being the first flowers to break through the snow after a snowstorm.

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