I read the original Fifty Shades of Grey (a.k.a Lady Chatterley’s Lover) six or seven years ago. What a brilliant story, especially for its time. Originally published in the 1920s, it predated the sexual revolution, the porn industry boom, and MTV. The way Lawrence was able to capture the notion of sexual fulfillment from a woman’s perspective no less, simply blew me away.
In this scene, Connie (Lady Chatterly) converses with her husband, Clifford, who is an impotent paraplegic. This is before Connie meets Oliver Mellors, the man who eventually “lights her fire.”
Clifford to Connie:
“…You had that lover in Germany…what is it now? Nothing almost. It seems to me that it isn’t these little acts and little connections we make in our lives that matter so very much. They pass away, and where are they? Where…Where are the snows of yesteryear?…It’s what endures through one’s life that matters; my own life matters to me, in its long continuance and development. But what do the occasional connections matter? And the occasional sexual connections specially. If people don’t exaggerate them ridiculously, they pass like the mating of birds. And so they should. What does it matter? It’s the life-long companionship that matters. It’s the living together from day to day, not the sleeping together once or twice. You and I are married, no matter what happens to us. We have the habit of each other. And habit, to my thinking, is more vital than any occasional excitement” (47).
What I love about this passage is that is holds both truth and untruth. A statement like this discounts the need for passion, yet touches on the bigger picture–the things that truly matter in life. I believe these words, for Connie’s sake, were meant to be proven wrong, yet Lawrence is creating a pretty fierce argument.
By the way, in our world today, we still debate this very predicament.