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Women in Love

Man To Man
He lay sick and unmoved, in pure opposition to everything. He knew how near to
breaking was the vessel that held his life. He knew also how strong and durable it
was. And he did not care. Better a thousand times take one's chance with death,
than accept a life one did not want. But best of all to persist and persist and
persist for ever, till one were satisfied in life.
He knew that Ursula was referred back to him. He knew his life rested with her.
But he would rather not live than accept the love she proffered. The old way of
love seemed a dreadful bondage, a sort of conscription. What it was in him he
did not know, but the thought of love, marriage, and children, and a life lived
together, in the horrible privacy of domestic and connubial satisfaction, was
repulsive. He wanted something clearer, more open, cooler, as it were. The hot
narrow intimacy between man and wife was abhorrent. The way they shut their
doors, these married people, and shut themselves in to their own exclusive
alliance with each other, even in love, disgusted him. It was a whole community
of mistrustful couples insulated in private houses or private rooms, always in
couples, and no further life, no further immediate, no disinterested relationship
admitted: a kaleidoscope of couples, disjoined, separatist, meaningless entities
of married couples. True, he hated promiscuity even worse than marriage, and a
liaison was only another kind of coupling, reactionary from the legal marriage.
Reaction was a greater bore than action.
On the whole, he hated sex, it was such a limitation. It was sex that turned a man
into a broken half of a couple, the woman into the other broken half. And he
wanted to be single in himself, the woman single in herself. He wanted sex to
revert to the level of the other appetites, to be regarded as a functional process,
not as a fulfilment. He believed in sex marriage. But beyond this, he wanted a
further conjunction, where man had being and woman had being, two pure
beings, each constituting the freedom of the other, balancing each other like two
poles of one force, like two angels, or two demons.
He wanted so much to be free, not under the compulsion of any need for
unification, or tortured by unsatisfied desire. Desire and aspiration should find
their object without all this torture, as now, in a world of plenty of water, simple
thirst is inconsiderable, satisfied almost unconsciously. And he wanted to be with
Ursula as free as with himself, single and clear and cool, yet balanced, polarised
with her. The merging, the clutching, the mingling of love was become madly
abhorrent to him.
But it seemed to him, woman was always so horrible and clutching, she had such
a lust for possession, a greed of self-importance in love. She wanted to have, to
own, to control, to be dominant. Everything must be referred back to her, to
Woman, the Great Mother of everything, out of whom proceeded everything and
to whom everything must finally be rendered up.
It filled him with almost insane fury, this calm assumption of the Magna Mater,
that all was hers, because she had borne it. Man was hers because she had
borne him. A Mater Dolorosa, she had borne him, a Magna Mater, she now