Me and God is a bit uppish, somehow

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 445, chapter 19) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Mellors wrote to Connie, saying that the love flame between Connie and himself was all he cared about but the baby was not important .…)

It’s my Pentecost, the forked flame between me and you. The old Pentecostisn’t quite right. Me and God is a bit uppish, somehow.
But the little forked flame between me and you: there you are!

The blue sentence is a little strange to me. How should I understand it please? And why didn't Mellors say I and God are a bit arrogrant(=uppish)?

Thank you in advance
 
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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think it means arrogant, I think it means that they don't get on with each other. This meaning from the OED
    Ready to take offence; short-tempered, peevish. Now dial. or Obs.
    He is talking about the difference between his and Connie's flame (love) and the conventional meaning of Pentecost.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Mellors has invoked religious symbolism (the pentecostal flame, supposedly the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, second person in the Christian Trinity) to describe his relationship with Connie. Now he is apologising for his presumption in doing so.
    Me and God is a bit uppish, somehow.
    This means, 'OK, I admit it is presumptuous to describe my feelings as divinely inspired'.

    Here again, I suspect the influence of Samuel Butler. Butler's book God the Known and God the Unknown treats life on earth as a single great organism, in which each of us is a part, and he calls the whole thing God. Whatever we do that is particularly true to, and expressive of, our nature is the action of the divine within us.

    Butler rejected the Church's supernatural teachings, but he liked to use them as a metaphor for what he saw as the true natural divinity in each one of us. I think Lawrence is doing the same here.
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you, everyone
    This meaning from the OED
    Good dictionary, even though I don't know where I can get it.
    And I feel short-tempered, peevish fit the context. That is to say, Mellors(=Me) and God can't get along well(or they are peerish to each other). In other words, Mellors didn't like God and Christianity.(Judging from the previous paragraph, Mellors<and Lawrence> prefer the great god Pan to Christianity.
    Here again, I suspect the influence of Samuel Butler. Butler's book God the Known and God the Unknown treats life on earth as a single great organism, in which each of us is a part, and he calls the whole thing God. Whatever we do that is particularly true to, and expressive of, our nature is the action of the divine within us.

    Butler rejected the Church's supernatural teachings, but he liked to use them as a metaphor for what he saw as the true natural divinity in each one of us. I think Lawrence is doing the same here.
    I will think it over.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Me and God is a bit uppish, somehow."

    Thinking about wandle's comment, I suppose we could read this slightly differently from wandle's bolding. "Me and God" = my relationship with God/My behaviour towards God - is presumptuous. I think that is a better interpretation than my first attempt.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I agree with wandle; I read it as Mellors finding it out of place to be bandying religious terms around as if he and God were having a conversation. It would be as if I referred to a word used in the writings of Isaac Newton, and said "me and Newton have used the term X this way to mean so-and-so", seeming to suggest that I regarded Newton as a partner or colleague.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you, GreenWhiteBlue.
    But why didn't Mellors just say: my comparison is not quite right?
    Mellors has invoked religious symbolism (the pentecostal flame, supposedly the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, second person in the Christian Trinity) to describe his relationship with Connie. Now he is apologising for his presumption in doing so.
    After one night rest, now I understand your meaning. Oh, my poor English. You hold the same opinion as PaulQ in another thread of mine.
    And I feel short-tempered, peevish fit the context. That is to say, Mellors(=Me) and God can't get along well(or they are peerish to each other). In other words, Mellors didn't like God and Christianity.(Judging from the previous paragraph, Mellors<and Lawrence> prefer the great god Pan to Christianity.)
    But is my opinion also possible?
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    why didn't Mellors say I and God are a bit arrogrant(=uppish)?
    As I see it, Mellors at that point is commenting on his own choice of words: he means it is arrogant of him to talk about himself and God in that way.
    It’s my Pentecost, the forked flame between me and you.
    This refers to the Christian belief that the Holy Spirit came down in the form of tongues of fire and inspired the apostles to speak in different languages, so that they could preach to people of all nations. This is regarded as the beginning of the Church's mission to go out and convert the world.
    Mellors is saying: 'My love for you is the divine inspiration which gives me a new life'.
    The old Pentecost isn’t quite right.
    Mellors now adjusts his language. He says, 'Thinking in terms of the old Pentecost (the traditional Christian doctrine) is not the right way to express it'.
    Me and God is a bit uppish, somehow.
    He continues adjusting his language. 'OK, talking about me and God is taking it too far'.
    But the little forked flame between me and you: there you are! That’s what I abide by
    He sums up his meaning: 'Still, the love between you and me is a kind of divine flame. That is it. That is what I believe in'.

    At the end, even though he seems to have taken back the claim of divine inspiration, he is still using the religious metaphor. That is shown by the phrase 'the little forked flame'. The biblical story of the descent of the Holy Spirit says that He appeared in the shape of a flame which parted, or forked, into several flames.
    'Forked' may also be a sexual allusion, referring to the fork of the human body at the groin.
     
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