D.H. Lawrence published, the now classic, Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1928. The book had to face a great deal of controversy, banned and unbanned throughout the century, because of its obscene content and storyline. The story started off with the main character - the 23-year-old Connie Reid, daughter of a Scottish painter, Sir Malcolm- getting married to Clifford Chatterley, in 1917. Clifford was the heir to an estate of the English midlands, Wragby. This is a novel set on a time during the First World War. A month later after their marriage and honeymoon, Clifford was sent to fight in the war.
Since Clifford belonged to a noble family, after their marriage, Connie became known as Lady Chatterley. Connie had grown up in the bohemian culture and belonged to an upper middle class family. She had an older sister named Hilda and considering the environment in which they were brought up, both were far from dogmatic and had love affairs even when they were only teenagers.
When Clifford returned from the war, terribly injured and paralyzed from waist down, it was certain that he had become impotent. Clifford had to have a motorized wheelchair made for him, which enabled him to practice easier mobility. Helpless and dejected, Clifford began to be completely dependent on Connie. Connie was very gentle towards her husband at first but she did not fail to notice that he had started to become emotionless and could not relate to a lot of things. He owned a coalmine and did not count the workers as humans but rather as objects instead. The mother of a demised coalmine worker later becomes Clifford’s caretaker in the story. She loathes him for her son’s death in the workplace but is also very fearful of him- it gets all the more interesting when Clifford is left alone by his wife and the old woman has to take care of him as if she were his mother and not his servant.
In the meantime, Clifford began to write short stories. As an author, he attracted many intellectual young people who came to pay visits to the Chatterleys in Wragby. As a result, Connie started to feel less gloomy with the sudden surge of new people. However, her father warns her that a life as such is not worthy of living. He does mention that a life without sensuality has no value even if she fills it with intellect. Sir Malcolm despised Clifford for his impotence and was unashamed to openly talk about sensuality in a public manner.
Connie felt isolated and lifeless without the bare minimum amount of physical contact a human requires on a daily basis. An Irish playwright named Michaelis comes to Wragby in order to meet Clifford. Connie, who had been yearning for physical company for the longest of time, ends up in an affair with Michaelis. However, Connie was never fully satisfied because she never reached the state of sexual gratification with him. Nonetheless, she continued maintaining it because it was still better than having nothing from her husband.
In the midst of everything, Connie still had some remaining attachment between herself and Clifford. This is why she does not accept when Michaelis asks for her hand in marriage. Meanwhile, Clifford’s growing talent in literature continued to bring in more and more intellectuals to Wragby. All of these men were open to the topic of sensuality. They always managed to come across discussion about the sexual relationships between men and women, creating a very intense environment.
One beautiful morning, Clifford and Connie decided to go round the woods in Chatterley’s estate. Clifford was slowly moving in his wheelchair as Connie accompanied him. They were witnessing the beauty of the countryside that was still left since the place had had trees chopped down and preserved to serve in the war as lumber were very essential during wartime. Speaking of preserving, Clifford had something else in mind that needed preservation.
In the 1920s, not having a male child to carry forward the family legacy was not taken positively by the society. This is why Clifford requests Connie to have a child with another man so that he could have children who would bear the surname of Chatterley. Connie nods, agreeing to what Clifford had just requested her to do but on the inside, she is bothered since she knows that she would have to continue with this marriage even though she no longer wished to. While they were having their conversation, Oliver Mellor, the gamekeeper came in and helped Clifford with climbing the hill on his wheelchair. He treats Clifford with respect but does not pay much attention to Connie. As she watches the exchange, Connie becomes worried that her husband has lost all his emotions and if she were to be around him, she would also become just like him.
More days pass and when summer arrives again, so does Michaelis. Thus, the old affair resumes and again, he proposes marriage to Connie. This time, Connie was not in the best of state and one night she almost agrees to marry him. However, he puts forward a condition that she would have to divorce Clifford first. This condition sparks a heated moment between the two as Michaelis shows ire towards her for not being able to achieve orgasm simultaneously.
Connie was a woman of anger and ego and after this exchange, she felt as if her sexual desire from all men have been wrecked. She leaves Michaelis and puts an end to their relationship. She started feeling blue all the time and wanted to move away as far as possible from Clifford. The only thing that lessened her anguish even a little was the thought of having a child.
One day after seeing Mellors shirtless in the woods in his backyard, Connie felt as if she had butterflies in the stomach. She could feel the warmth and it felt nice for a woman who has been deprived of something that every human being urges for. Once she found him scolding his daughter and Connie had to take her away to her grandmother and after coming back, she found him inside the house waiting to deliver a message to Clifford. As she talks to him, she realizes that she happened to like him even more and was even slightly dazzled by his behavior, regardless of his sarcastic tone and distance. His eyes caught her attention and she found them to be nothing but full of compassion.
As time passes, Connie started feeling as if she has been wronged. This is because although she has been married for four long years, she had yet to feel the sweetness of it. She could feel her body losing the aura of youthfulness and realizes that it will never be the same again. Her pile of depression only kept increasing when her sister, Hilda, suggests to her that it was not required of Connie to take care of Clifford all the time and that they could appoint a servant to do everything that was needed to be done. This is where the old local nurse comes into the story. Despite after being angry with Clifford for the grief his coalmine has caused her and her deceased son, Mrs. Bolton respected his wealth and nobility.
Mrs. Bolton shared stories with Clifford about the locality, the coalmines, its workers and etc. He took her words very seriously and decided to take steps in order to ameliorate the situation of the dying coal industry of Wragby. As the relationship starts to get better between him and Mrs. Bolton, the distance only increases exponentially between him and his wife. Later in the story, Mrs. Bolton somehow figures out the affair between Connie and Mellors.
One day in the woods, Connie came across Mellors and although at first, she denied to get involved in a sexual intercourse, it is implied that it was Mellors who forced her into doing it with him on the forest floor. This madness led to them reaching their sexual satisfaction, simultaneously, twice in a row. This was when they both started feeling deeply for each other. Connie started adoring him and every little thing about him. Mellors himself was a sad soul whose lovers were not interested in having sex with him. Having found Connie, he also found his desires being fulfilled.
At one point, Connie and Mellors started connecting on a different level. They appreciated each other’s features and Connie was proud to be carrying Mellors’ child. A pregnant Connie leaves Wragby for Venice and plans to tell Clifford that she has become pregnant with the baby of a noble man from Venice after returning home. However after her departure, Mellors’ wife returns and begins to spread rumors in order to create a scandal. Due to her behavior, Mellors proceeds to give her a divorce, a fact Connie finds out after she returns from her trip to Venice. She also learns that Mellors has been fired. Connie reveals the truth to her husband about her affair with Mellors but she is denied a divorce when she asks for one. The novel ends on a suspense since it is not revealed whether the lovers were reunited or not.