she despised me a bit, for being so pleased about it, and bringin’ her her breakfast in bed sometime

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(the last para., page 296, chapter 14) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(context:Mellors was telling Connie about his wife, Bertha)
She wanted me, and made no bones about it. And I was as pleased as punch. That was what I wanted: a woman whowantedme to fuck her. So I fu c ked her like a good un. And I think she despised me a bit, for being so pleased about it, and bringin’ her her breakfast in bed sometimes.

The part in blue is not easy to understand in logic. I understand for being so pleased about it, and bringin’ her her breakfast in bed sometimes to be: because(=for) I (Mellors) was so pleased about it(=sexual intercourse, I think) and brought her her breakfast to bed sometimes. But why did his wife, Bertha, despise him, when he brought her breakfast? I think she should have respected him for his care and service.
Thank you in advance
 
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  • goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think the answer is implied a few sentences later:

    "And she got so’s she’d never have me when I wanted her: never. Always put me off, brutal as you like. And then when she’d put me right off, and I didn’t want her, she’d come all lovey-dovey, and get me."

    Lawrence depicts Bertha as someone who is repulsed by happiness and warm romantic interest, and attracted by indifference and brutality. It may seem paradoxical, but it's a common archetype in literature, especially in depictions of women. To quote the opera Carmen, "If you don't love me, then I love you; if you love me, then beware!"
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you. I have considered your words for a long time. And finally, I feel what you said is possible, even though a wife normally hopes her husband to be pleased about it(sex) and is grateful that her husband brings her breakfast to bed.

    I guess Mellors' wife Berths didn't want to be controlled by him.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If they were all normal people (whatever 'normal' means) there wouldn't be anything to write about!:D
    By the way, the expression is fixed and it's 'breakfast in bed'.
    In those days, women had to do what their menfolk told them. One of the few weapons they had was to deny their husbands sex. Then there's all the complicated psychological games playing that goes on in many relationships. Working class men expected their wives to wait on them hand and foot even if the wife was herself working.
    The main point is that however improbable you and I think something might be in real life, that's what Lawrence wrote.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    OK. Now I understand Mellors should not have brought her her breakfast in bed, that's another reason why Bertha despised him, even though she let things go( = didn't take care of anything) later
    In those days, women had to do what their menfolk told them. One of the few weapons they had was to deny their husbands sex.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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    goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    OK. Now I understand Mellors should not have brought her her breakfast in bed, that's another reason why Bertha despised him, even though she let things go( = didn't take care of anything) later:thumbsup::thumbsup:
    I don't think it's a question of "should" -- the implication isn't that Mellors made a mistake, but that the relationship (and psychological dynamic) between him and this woman was toxic. To invoke a common phrase, they "brought out the worst in each other".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    You've got hold of the wrong end of the stick, Longx. His bringing her breakfast in bed was an unusual thing for a man to do in those days. The fact that he did it shows how much he cared about her and tried to please her.
    But, he says, she saw it as a sign of weakness and despised him for it.
     
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