Analysis of D.H. Lawrence's 'Red geranium and Godly Mignonette'

Essay by MEL2B, September 2007

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D.H. Lawrence “Red Geranium and Godly Mignonette”Lawrence’s poem looks at the relationship between the nature of sensual experience, and imagination. According to Lawrence sensual experience connects us with reality. We are conscious of ourselves as living beings because of our sensual experiences of reality. Imagination or the intellect helps us to define our position and relation to the broader reality which exists beyond the self, and allows us a justifiable realisation of the nature in which our reality connects with the Divine.

The tone in the first stanza is easy-going, gentle and persuasive. It takes the reader unawares, on a journey of discovery and insight into the nature of thought, of reality and of the Divine. The tone gets satirical towards the end of the first stanza (12-16) where God is imagined as a man-like figure, with thoughts of a man and a nose. The tone in the last stanza is serious and there is no play with satire there.

The voice is powerful, and although the truth of the message it carries is, in fact, a suggestion, the seriousness, straight-mindedness and honesty of the tone is overwhelming. The effect is dramatic and the message comes out as an indisputable truth.

The poem shows that the civilised man’s passion for intellectualism is in vain. The intellect cannot imagine what has not already been perceived with the senses. For Lawrence, sensual experience is more insightful into the nature of reality than the intellect, as he stated in 1913, that he believed sensual experience ‘as being wiser than the intellect’ and that ‘we can go wrong in our minds but what the blood feels and believes and says, is always true’.

Lawrence’s view of the intellect is rebellious to the highly esteemed regard with which the intellect was held by his contemporaries...