frightened of middle-and lower-class humanity, and of foreigners not of his own class

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longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 10, Chapter One) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford was more society and better bred than Connie, but more provincial and timid .…)

"If the truth must be told, he was just a little bit frightened of middle-and lower-class humanity, and of foreigners not of his own class. He was, in some paralysing way, conscious of his own defencelessness, though he had all thedefence of privilege. "

How should I understand the red part please?
I feel humanity here means mankind, not human characteristic. And foreigners means people from different groups, rather the ones from other countries, because only some Italians appear in this novel.

Thank you in advance
 
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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Humanity does indeed mean mankind, but foreigners means people from other countries. The fact that Clifford does not subsequently have encounters with foreigners in the book is irrelevant. He could be scared of spiders without the book going on to describe a spider invasion.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Humanity' here does mean people in general, but it refers only to the people of the British Isles, because it is contrasted with 'foreigners' (people from other countries).
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    But now I have a new discovery from vikipedia(here):

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover also presents some views on the British social context of the early 20th century. This is most evidently seen in the plot; the affair of an aristocratic woman (Connie) with a working class man (Mellors). This is heightened when Mellors adopts the local broad Derbyshire dialect, something he can slip in and out of. Critic and writer Mark Schorer writes of the forbidden love of a woman of relatively superior social situation who is drawn to an "outsider" (a man of lower social rank or a foreigner).

    Note: outsider=foreigner.
    And Lawrence used outsider on Michaelis several times in this novel
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    That's right. Michaelis was an 'outsider' in both senses - he wasn't upper-class and he was Irish. Lawrence makes it clear that Clifford was using him to gain literary success. Connie uses him too.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    In your quote from the book, foreigner definitely means someone from an another country. In your article it also means someone from another country. The term "outsider" in the article is defined as either someone from a different background or someone from a different country. In English "foreigner" is used pretty much exclusively to mean "someone from another country" and that is how it is being used in the two sentences you have quoted.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    In your quote from the book, foreigner definitely means someone from an another country. In your article it also means someone from another country. The term "outsider" in the article is defined as either someone from a different background or someone from a different country. In English "foreigner" is used pretty much exclusively to mean "someone from another country" and that is how it is being used in the two sentences you have quoted.
    Thank you again. But:
    1.I find some dedinitions from dictionary:One who is from outside a particular group or community; an outsider.
    2.Lawrence added not of his own class behind foreigners. Not of his own class seems to indicate that foreigners is related to social class.
    3.Hermione seems to hold a different opinion from yours, in post 6.:D
    That's right.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    1. That is a definition which is rarely used and is not being used by Lawrence in this sentence.
    2. The fact that he adds "not of his own class" indicates precisely the opposite : that foreigners is UNRELATED to social class.
    3.HG was in my opinion agreeing with the fact that Lawrence used "outsider" in relation to Michaelis.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Long, I'm not sure that I understand what the problem is or why you mention Michaelis.
    I agree with both #8 and #9.
    3.HG was in my opinion agreeing with the fact that Lawrence used "outsider" in relation to Michaelis.
    That's right.

    Clifford didn't get on well with anybody who was not his own class, whether they were English/British or foreign nationality.
    Foreigners had a class system too!

    Note: outsider=foreigner:cross:.
    And Lawrence used outsider on of Michaelis several times in this novel
    'Outsider' doesn't mean 'foreigner'. It means anybody outside your own circle of family, friends and acquaintances. A person's circle is often based on their social class even these days. The difference these days is that society is far more open than it was a hundred years ago because, in those hundred years, especially post-WWI, many of the barriers between the old social groupings or classes have broken down.
    It wouldn't be quite true to say completely broken down. In general, people naturally associate with those who have similar experiences of life. These days we tend to be far more accepting of many very different people into our social circles.

    I'd say that we are all trying to help you understand extraordinarily complex issues.

    Why did you mention Michaelis?
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    I get it. Thanks for all the help.
    I'd say that we are all trying to help you understand extraordinarily complex issues.

    Why did you mention Michaelis?
    I know you are all helping me.
    I mentioned Michaelis because Michaelis was regarded an outsider. And I suspected foreigners not of Clifford's class could also be regarded as outsiders. Finally, the sentences I cited led/caused me to suspect foreigners=outsiders.
    That's why
     

    eftzoons

    New Member
    American English
    Foreigners, one might pronounce, are always outsiders but outsiders NOT always foreigners. Of course, with English, one may always stretch the literal essence of such words for the sake of humor, etc., saying he's a native outsider or she's a foreign insider. Flexibility trumping the literal.
     

    eftzoons

    New Member
    American English
    Thus making a good example of the above mentioned stretchiness of English, in that, say, fear of "German insiders" is fully able to connote, IMO, that he was likely afraid of German spies, it again being wartime. It might sound silly on the surface in that it seems to be a contradictory construct, but sarcasm, etc., could easily give rise to such a phenomenon without anyone doubting your command of proper English.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Critic and writer Mark Schorer writes of the forbidden love of a woman of relatively superior social situation who is drawn to an "outsider" (a man of lower social rank or a foreigner).

    Our discussion is about Clifford's attitudes to 'humanity', which means other people. He distrusted anybody beneath his own class, whatever country they came from. We're told he was 'a little bit frightened' of these lower class people. Whoever they were, wherever they came from, regardless of their nationality they worried him. A 'little bit frightened' doesn't really mean he was afraid. It's more that he was not at ease.
    Lower-class foreigners would perhaps be even more 'outsider', than British middle- and working- class folk. Clifford would be perfectly happy we can assume with foreigners of his own social status.

    Why are we now suddenly talking about Clifford being frightened of Germans? It has nothing to do with his attitude to other people, the war and general temperament.

    Germany had very close links with the English, most especially because the Royal family were of German origin. German universites had a very high reputation and many British people studied at them, including Clifford himself. He had spent two years at Cambridge University and was studying mining technology at the university of Bonn in Germany when the war broke out. He most likely spoke good German. We are told that Clifford was not happy about his father's relentless patriotism. Clifford was thinking more about the family business, about how they would manage, if they had no trees for pit props.
    Lawrence makes no mention of Clifford worrying about spies!
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    He distrusted anybody beneath his own class, whatever country they came from.
    That is true, but when he mentioned 'humanity' in the quoted passage, Lawrence was evidently thinking of 'British people in general'.
    he was just a little bit frightened of middle-and lower-class humanity, and of foreigners not of his own class.
    If the word 'humanity', as used by Lawrence in this sentence, was intended to include people of all countries, then the added phrase 'and of foreigners not of his own class' would add nothing to the meaning.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    That is very true. Lawrence might even be suggesting that Clifford thought foreigners were even less part of humanity, unless they were of his own social class. I was simplifying in an attempt to clear up what seemed to be some profound misunderstanding.
    Either way or both ways, he's making Clifford's feelings about 'outsiders' quite clear. There's not much mention if any, of social interaction with neighbours with whom he might have something in common.
    I think the additional mention of foreigners is very bitter tongue-in-cheek, although readily believable and absolutely typical of British xenophobia and inbuilt sense of superiority.

    Perhaps these remarks reflect his own experiences as a foreigner, in Germany, living with, then married to a member of minor German nobility, and in England married to a German woman. He was a social outsider in both countries for two reasons.

    I don't know how far we can be forensic about it. I don't believe in Clifford, Connie, or Mellors: they are constructs for voicing Lawrence's social views.
     
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