It was hopelessly and offensively nonconformist

< Previous | Next >

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 17, Chapter One) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background:There was an impassable gulf betwen Clifford and Connie, and the villegers. ……)

The curious, suspicious, false amiability with which the miners' wives met her(Connie's) overtures; the curiously offensive tinge of--Oh dear me! I am somebody now, with Lady Chatterley talking to me! But she needn't think I'm not as good as her for all that!--which she always heard twanging in the women's half-fawning voices, was impossible. There was no getting past it. It was hopelessly and offensively nonconformist.

I know nonconfromists maily consist of workingclass people, who are norally less educated. And its counterpart mainly consists of upper-class people.
So I feel Connie showed a little religious discrimination by this sentence.

Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    So I feel Connie showed a little religious discrimination by this sentence.

    Is that right please?
    No. The Non-Conformist movement started in the 18th century as a rebellion (mainly peaceful) against the idea of the authority of the Church and in favour of the idea that "all were equal in the eyes of God". This attracted the working classes (as you observe) and Non-Conformism (which was a large group of various denominations within Christianity) thus encompassed the idea of "all men are equal and nobody is better than anyone else."

    In the passage you quote,
    (i) Oh dear me! I am somebody now, with Lady Chatterley talking to me! (ii) But she needn't think I'm not as good as her for all that!
    The significance is that, the women were hypocritical or, at least, conflicted: on the one hand, because of the way society was structured, they felt that it was an honour to be able to talk with Lady Chatterley (in the way that you might find it an honour to speak with your president); on the other hand, because of their Non-Conformist beliefs, they were conflicted: their beliefs said that nobody was better than anyone else!

    Thus, by speaking to Connie, they felt both honoured, and then immediately guilty for feeling honoured, and then felt they ought to rebel.

    This conflict of two principles in their minds thus led them to what is known as "cognitive dissonance" and thus (ii) they were annoyed with themselves and would tell their friends and family - or simply form the opinion - to excuse the feeling of being honoured - "But she needn't think I'm not as good as her for all that!"
     
    Last edited:

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    You offer me a good explanation. Thanks
    I have inserted it into the footnote.

    But did the rector also belong to Non-conforminism? And what religious sect did the upper-class people believe in at that time?
     
    Nonconformist - Wikipedia

    This is not a bad article on which UK church groups were 'nonconformist' and what they believed.

    A religious census in 1851 revealed Nonconformist comprised about half that of the people who attended church services on Sundays. In the larger manufacturing areas, Nonconformists clearly outnumbered members of the Church of England.[6] In Wales in 1850, Nonconformist chapel attendance significantly outnumbered Anglican church attendance.[7] They were based in the fast-growing upwardly mobile urban middle class.[8]
    =====

    ===
    Bennymix: Upper classes tended to be (high) Church of England.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you.
    I will insert yours into relevant footnote: Church of England mainly consists of upper class people.:thumbsup:
     
    That is not quite what I said, Long. I'm not an expert in the history of British Christianity, but I think you have to take some account of the 'low' part(s) of the Church of England, e.g., the Wycliffites. There you would find some middle class, even poor people, I believe. If I may rephrase what I said, I suggested there is a strong overlap between being a member in the upper classes and being a member of the high part of the Church of England. There were some nonconforming members of the upper classes, e.g. some famous Quakers.

    I think Paul explained things well, above. These persons Lady Chatterley is talking to are likely Methodist or maybe Baptists; they reject the authority structure of the Anglican church (bishops and saints), and hence the idea that there are better people in the better(upper) classes. At the same time, and continuing to the present, ordinary folks do often look up to these elite persons and act (or at least feel) deferentially toward them. A commoner meeting Lady Diana would feel impressed or honored, even if he in theory believed 'one man's as good as the next' or 'bishops are no closer to God than any ordinary God-fearing person.'

    These are just the thoughts of a North American of --long ago--wycliffite and quaker background. Subject to correction by knowledgeable British persons, such as Paul.

    Thank you.
    I will insert yours into relevant footnote: Church of England mainly consists of upper class people.:thumbsup:
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    But did the rector also belong to Non-conforminism?
    No. The rector was a rector in the Church of England. See page 217 of the book you link to on which the rector speaks of personal matters to Sir Clifford and knows him well.
    And what religious sect did the upper-class people believe in at that time?
    As Bennymix says, the upper classes were mostly Church of England, and that is true of Sir Clifford and Connie.

    The miners' wives were Methodist (a Non-Conformist sect of Christianity.) The miners themselves were, for the most part, agnostic or atheist but as they had all been brought up in Methodist households, they too had the Socialist belief that "respect for a person was earned and not inherited" and "all men are born equal."

    D.H. Lawrence describes the social/religious background very well from page 16 to 19 of the copy of the book that you link to.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top