D. H. Lawrence lived in a time when British society was experiencing a significant change as a result of the industrial revolution. Thus, the novel, in addition to its autobiographical bearing, traces the disintegrating impacts of industry on the easy-going life of the countryside. To him “as a child and a young man, it was still the old England of the forest and agricultural past”, until their life became a curious cross between industrialism and the old agricultural England. “Corn and meadows” were ruined to make a place for coal mines, dull little shops began to rise, people were compared to ants working into the earth and soon the “Merry old England has(d) disappeared, given way to an inferior, dry, mechanized new England.” The gigantic wealth produced by the industrial civilization caused social problems such as income gap, poverty, poor working conditions, the deterioration of the overall moral standards, and the natural environmental pollution. Thus the beauty of nature is paralleled with the ugliness of the industrial civilization. Nature as a mirror reflects not only the physical damage cast on our living world by industrial production, but also exposes the distorted human relation in the industrial world. For Lawrence, nature is the healing source for those who have been passively inflicted by intellectual and industrial life or by problematic relation with another human being.
The entire life of the mining community depicted in the novel rests upon the coal-pits which stand on the horizon. The work in the mine extracts every ounce of vitality out of the colliers. Lawrence presents the character of Walter Morel, a collier, as the symbol of the working class. He is introduced as a man full of warmth, virility and natural delicacy. In spite of his heavy hard work in the mines and its dehumanizing impact, this does not dissuade him from enjoying life and nature. As a result of working underground with the other miners, he started loving the contact, the intimacy, as men in the war loved the intense male camaraderie of the dark days. He went to pubs and drank to continue his intimacy with his mates. The colliers didn’t care much about wages. As Ashok Celly points out, the pit and the pub were not just places of intimate togetherness, they were also their escape from “ hard facts in the shape of wife, money and nagging home necessities”. But ultimately his wife does not understand the misery of the pits, so she adds to his discomfort. As a result, he is cast off by his wife and children and his sense of estrangement makes him marginalized in the family.
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