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Lust Plus Rage = Love

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DT Peek

Professor Murphy

ENG 1102

23 September 2005

Lust Plus Rage = Love

"I love you," is used on a daily basis. Though nobody agrees what that means, all agree the feeling is powerful. In fact, nothing can control a person like love can, and worse, nobody has control over what love is going to do to them next. Love causes lust, love causes happiness, and love causes anger. In D.H. Lawrence's short story "The White Stocking" the main character Ted Whiston loves his wife Elsie. As the story progresses the reader finds out this love has psychological control over Whiston's actions. Ted battles a rage brought about by a betrayal of his love, and though he does act out in fury against the very woman he loves, love does seem - finally - to win the war going on in his spirit.

Ted is deeply in love with his wife Elsie, and the reader sees this through his thoughts and actions throughout the story. Ted feels sexual lust every time his wife walks in front of him. The reader sees this at the beginning of the story:

It was about seven o'clock, scarcely light in the cold bedroom. Whiston lay still and looked at his wife. She was a pretty little thing, with her fleecy, short black hair all tousled. He watched her as she dressed quickly, flicking her small, delightful limbs, throwing her clothes about her. Her slovenliness and untidiness did not trouble him. When she picked up the edge of her petticoat, ripped off a torn string of white lace, and flung it on the dressing-table, her careless abandon made his spirit glow. (238)

However, Ted's early morning sexual attraction for his wife was squelched by the scheme she was playing concerning another man. Even the first time we see her in the story, she is only awake early in the morning so that she can scheme. She likes to play games with the emotions of men. Elsie is a major antagonist of the story. Love is her weapon of choice, and her husband's heart is her target. Elsie likes to see just how far she can push Ted's emotions. Elsie was awake early because it was Valentines Day, and she was anticipating a package from the Sam Adams, her knight in shining armor.

Elsie opens Adam's package to find a white stocking with a bulky object weighing the stocking down. When confronted by Ted about the package, Elsie just fills his head with lies. Ted lets her be. This is not good enough for Elsie, she wants to see how far she can take this. "You know that white stocking ... I told you a lie. It wasn't a sample. It was my valentine" (241). Ted feels betrayal towards the woman he loves so dearly. Rage comes upon him; Ted does not understand what his love is creating. Elsie is steady trying to push him to his breaking point. "You'd go off with a nigger for a packet of chocolate, he said in anger and contempt, and some bitterness. Queer how he drew away from her, cut her off from him" (242). This is the reader's first glimpse at seeing the monster Ted's love is creating.

The setting was another elegant extravaganza thrown by Sam Adams. He is the factory owner that both Ted and Elsie work for. A major confrontation between Elsie and Ted occurs after the party of Elsie's life. Ted and Elsie were dating at the time and were not yet married. Elsie, however, begins to establish a long running obsession with Sam Adams.

He was an excellent dancer. He seemed to draw her close in to him by some warmth of attraction, so that she became all soft and pliant to him, following to his form, whilst he united her with him and they lapsed along in one movement. ??? was just carried in a kind of strong, warm flood, her feet moved of themselves. (245)

Ted is in the audience looking at the mad stream of emotion between his girlfriend and his boss. Ted was fighting his emotions by telling himself that it was ok: "He stood looking gloomy, trying to admit that she had a perfect right to enjoy herself apart from him..." (245). Ted is confused on why he is feeling this way; he does not yet understand his feelings for Elsie.

Lawrence's character Sam Adams is also an antagonist of the story. He was the man in every young girl's heart. Lawrence informs the reader that Sam is, "...a bachelor of forty ... stout ... well dressed and florid... large brown moustache and thin hair... well groomed, showy appearance... and some Irish blood in his veins" (243). He was a ladies' man.

A good example of how Ted does not give signals of his obvious attraction occurs while he is playing cards, and Elsie enters the room. His actions and remarks toward Elsie do not give anything away. "It moved him more strongly than was comfortable, to have her hand on his shoulder, her curls dangling and touching his ears, whilst she was roused to another man. It made the blood flame over him" (246). Lawrence writes this statement so that readers know that Ted is never far from that jealousy when Sam is involved. The monster is brought back within Ted. Ted has now had enough and is ready to leave. "'Aren't you tired of dancing?' 'Not a bit' she said 'Not she,' said Adams heartily. 'No girl with any spirit gets



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