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Abbey Auberle

14 Jan 2016
AP Literature

Analyze how Lawrence employs literary devices to characterize the woman and capture her
In the passage from D.H. Lawrences novel The Rainbow, Lawrence integrates various
literary techniques to characterize the woman as someone longing for knowledge, and capture
her dismal situation.
One of the first literary devices Lawrence employs is setting. In the second paragraph in
the passage Lawrence presents to the reader the womans house, where the front windows
looked out to the road and the village with the church and Hall and the world beyond.
Lawrence also mentioned how she stood to see the far off world of cities and governments and
the active scope of man. The house is at the brink of modern society, allowing the woman to
peer in on their happenings, but not to participate. She gazes upon this world of men fighting
outwards to knowledge, longing to be of the fighting host. Yet, she cannot, and, like the
house, must sit on the edge looking in.
Another device Lawrence uses is rhetorical questions. Towards the end of the passage,
the woman continuously asks questions, What is it in the vicar, that raised him above the
common men as man is raised above the beast? and why the vicar was the master. She seems
to be perplexed by the power he holds over others, and will not pause in her questioning until she
comes to a conclusion. She questions herself and her knowledge as a whole, trying to understand
how the vicar has such power over others simply by possessing the knowledge to do so. She

craved to achieve this higher being, in the same way that the vicar held this power the power,
she decided, was a question of knowledge.
Lastly, Lawrence incorporates a foil into the story to help portray the womans character.
The vicar, in the womans mind, is the pillar of knowledge and power in the community, and she
often compares him to her own husband. She describes her husband as fresh, slow, full-built
men,[] native to the Earth, lacking outwardness and range of motion, while the vicar was
dark and dry and small [ with] a quickness and range of being that made [her husband], in his
large geniality, seem dull and local. She draws upon the fact that, while her husband is tied to
the earth, the vicar was full of knowledge and otherworldly and spoke the other, magic
language. She sees the vicar as someone special, someone to attain to be like, and in that she
strives to obtain the knowledge that will bring her closer to the level of understanding of the
world he possesses.
Lawrence, through his incorporation of setting, rhetorical questions, and foils furthered
the character of the woman in the passage and successfully captured her situation.

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