most men are so doggy, a bit shameful

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 366, chapter 16) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: After the sex with Mellors, Connie realized it that a man was sharing her last and final nakedness. Then she thought……)

To find a man who dared do it, without shame or sin or final misgiving! If he had been ashamed afterwards, and made one feel ashamed, how awful! What a pity most men are so doggy(=like dogs), a bit shameful, like Clifford! Like Michaelis even!


I know doggy means like dogs, and I guess the hidden meaning of doggy is coward. But by shameful, I'm not sure whether Clifford and Michaelis were ashamed of sex or they were persons others were ashamed of ?

Could you tell me how to understand the blue part please?
Thank you in advance
By the way, the following paragraph also mentioned doggy are being like dogs(
They are all dogs that trot and sniff and copulate). That's why I guess doggy=coward
.


 
Last edited:
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I think you are going to have to locate someone with a copy of Websters 2nd International dictionary. This sounds like old usage and the definitions in current dictionaries might not be accurate.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm sure that this "doggy" characteristic holds some special significance for DHL, and I think it's only in this novel that he even mentions it. He mentions it again when Connie is in Italy: Daniele the "real man" ...was hireling to the rather doggy Giovanni who was hireling again to two women. Much earlier he mentioned Clifford and Michaelis running (like pathetic gasping dogs with lolling tongues) after the bitch-goddess, Success. Michaelis was the "Dublin mongrel". Dogs are a very important motif throughout the book.

    DHL seems to find "dogginess" in a man (whatever it is) utterly despicable - perhaps it has something to do with their being domesticated but still having animal appetites. Here the doggy man is contrasted to Mellors, who is sleeping now "like a wild animal":

    God, how rare a thing a man is! They are all dogs that trot and sniff and copulate. To have found a man who was not afraid and not ashamed! She looked at him now, sleeping so like a wild animal asleep,
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Websters 3rd International Dictionary came out in 1961 and created quite an uproar from traditionalists. Many definitions were added and many were changed.

    Websters 2nd International Dictionary came out in 1933 and some libraries still have a copy.

    Websters International Dictionary came out in 1890 and if you can find a copy that would be your best source. But the 2nd Edition copies are still around and are probably suitable to the era (the book was published in 1929).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I'm sure that this "doggy" characteristic holds some special significance for DHL, and I think it's only in this novel that he even mentions it. He mentions it again when Connie is in Italy: Daniele the "real man" ...was hireling to the rather doggy Giovanni who was hireling again to two women. Much earlier he mentioned Clifford and Michaelis running (like pathetic gasping dogs with lolling tongues) after the bitch-goddess, Success. Michaelis was the "Dublin mongrel". Dogs are a very important motif throughout the book.

    DHL seems to find "dogginess" in a man (whatever it is) utterly despicable - perhaps it has something to do with their being domesticated but still having animal appetites. Here the doggy man is contrasted to Mellors, who is sleeping now "like a wild animal":

    God, how rare a thing a man is! They are all dogs that trot and sniff and copulate. To have found a man who was not afraid and not ashamed! She looked at him now, sleeping so like a wild animal asleep,
    It was mentioned at least twice in Lady Chatterley's.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If we're keeping count, "doggy" is mentioned 4 times, mongrel 3 times, and "dog" 70 times. I don't think the dictionaries are going to be much help since this seems to belong to Lawrence's own personal mythology.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you very much
    If we're keeping count, "doggy" is mentioned 4 times, mongrel 3 times, and "dog" 70 times.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    You are so precise and serious-minded
    DHL seems to find "dogginess" in a man (whatever it is) utterly despicable - perhaps it has something to do with their being domesticated but still having animal appetites. Here the doggy man is contrasted to Mellors, who is sleeping now "like a wild animal"
    That sounds very possible. I take it as despicable. Thank you again
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with veilsarius, In DHL's mythology dogs are despicable because they are 'tame' domesticated animals who have lost their natural instincts in part; the comparison is with men who are constrained and tamed by the demands of society. (He regarded schools as evil.)
    Lawrence (in one of Mellors' rants I think) already discussed how industrialisation had 'tamed' men. The comparison would be with the nobility of wolves. There's much more detail to this general theme.

    D. H. Lawrence And Dogs: Canines And The Critique Of Civilisation
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There is a process that I call "back door" defining, where I find a synonym for a word and then check synonyms of that word to see all possible meanings.

    In this case I would use "cur" for "dog", "cur" being a synonym for "dog".

    Then I look up synonyms for "cur" and I find these:

    Dog
    Cad
    Coward
    Scoundrel

    I found great synonyms for "cur" on the new Thesaurus.com!

    If you embrace the concept that "a synonym of a synonym has the same meaning" then it is easy to see what "doggy" means.

    It is a risky way to understand things for new language learners because some words have several meanings and the synonym may be completely wrong, but in this case I think it is a reasonable leap to understand "doggy" to mean "caddish" , "cowardly" and "behaving like a scoundrel".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Doggy can only be understood in the widest context of all his writings which mention about dogs and what is known about his attitude to them. Then, in the narrower context of this book, the numerous ideas and philosophical notions about sex, relationships and the corruption of human values by industrial society. It's hard to see how Connie's previous lovers behaved like 'scoundrels', 'cowards' and 'cads'?
    None of them had satisfied her sexually. They were all talk and intellect. Her husband couldn't because his injuries fighting in WW1 had made him impotent.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think this is a good overview by Velisarius. It's in the vicinity of Long's original guess about 'cowardly'.

    Perhaps despicable is a bit strong, but 'low' definitely, and shrinking from life, compliant.

    As a friend put it: doggy=ever slobbering, ever hungry, yet ever begging the master for a scrap off his table, as if they couldn't simply take it.

    The issue of shame is also relevant; DHL's man exults in his sexuality and sensuality. While dogs are not 'ashamed' they don't copulate as a wild beast in nature would--e.g. wolf.




    I'm sure that this "doggy" characteristic holds some special significance for DHL, and I think it's only in this novel that he even mentions it. He mentions it again when Connie is in Italy: Daniele the "real man" ...was hireling to the rather doggy Giovanni who was hireling again to two women. Much earlier he mentioned Clifford and Michaelis running (like pathetic gasping dogs with lolling tongues) after the bitch-goddess, Success. Michaelis was the "Dublin mongrel". Dogs are a very important motif throughout the book.

    DHL seems to find "dogginess" in a man (whatever it is) utterly despicable - perhaps it has something to do with their being domesticated but still having animal appetites. Here the doggy man is contrasted to Mellors, who is sleeping now "like a wild animal":

    God, how rare a thing a man is! They are all dogs that trot and sniff and copulate. To have found a man who was not afraid and not ashamed! She looked at him now, sleeping so like a wild animal asleep,
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I've been looking at pages 289-290 in the linked-to edition.

    Mellors is explaining to Connie what it means for a man to "have no balls", and I think he perfectly explains here what Lawrence means when he describes a man as being "doggy":

    when he’s got none of that spunky wild bit of a man in him, you say he’s got no balls. When he’s a sort of tame.

    She pondered this. ’And is Clifford tame?’ she asked. ’Tame, and nasty with it [...] And do you think you’re not tame?’ ’Maybe not quite!’[...]

    ’Do you like dogs?’ Connie asked him. ’No, not really. They’re too tame and clinging.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top