The Man Who Loved Islands | Summary and Analysis

The Man Who Loved Islands | Summary and Analysis

The Man Who Loved Islands, A Short Story by D. H. Lawrence

The Man Who Loved Islands Introduction

D. H. Lawrence is an English novelist, story writer, critic, poet and painter, one of the greatest figures in 20th-century English literature. Lawrence saw sex and intuition as a key to undistorted perception of reality and a way to respond to the inhumanity of the industrial culture. Lawrence’s doctrines of sexual freedom arose obscenity trials, which had a deep effect on the relationship between literature and society. In 1912 he wrote: “What the blood feels, and believes, and says, is always true.” Lawrence’s life after World War I was marked with continuous and restless wandering.

D.H. Lawrence is a short story writer and the basic themes of his writing are sex and nature. In the present story, The Man Who Loved Islands, he talks about a man who loves islands passionately. Islands are a part and phenomenon of nature. Lawrence proves through the story The Man Who Loved Islands, that too much of attachment with nature and aloofment from the social circles is harmful for man. Man must live in society as he is a social animal. The central theme of the story is that natural objects exist for the utilization of man; the objects are not themselves humans; so too much attachment must be discouraged. The islander in the story is one who always stays out of social circles even in the islands where he visits.

The Story The Man Who Loved Islands is a very interesting and gripping. The story must be understood in the cluster of other short stories which he has written in the collection.

This story was one of Lawrence’s most popular and acclaimed ones, I believe…but I will look up further, what has been said and written about it and post some commentary directly; so don’t just take my word for that. There is a couple page commentary in Michael Black book, so he must have found it interesting. I do know Lawrence wrote it when quite young and therefore, it might not appear as polished or as advanced as stories, such as Sun or The Man Who Loved Islands – those stories came from a much different period in Lawrence’s writing, when he turned to a more surrealistic approach. This story encompasses more, the rudimentary rural life and the pastoral feel of this early novels, Sons and Lovers and The White Peacock, these being influenced by Thomas Hardy’s work, but then taken a step further with Lawrence’s own ideas. In Lawrence’s work, he goes further to express ‘free will’, although his characters are often trapped in circumstances, they fight to free themselves from.

The Rocking-Horse Winner– This famous macabre tale tells of a young tyke who can predict race winners whilst riding his wooden rocking horse. An unusual story which will keep your interest, The Man Who Loved Islands– A jaded sophisticate seeks to escape from the hustle and bustle of civilization by retreating to a sylvan paradise. His quest is Quixotic. Things-A spoiled rich couple treat things as people and people as things. They are entrapped by the baubles of life in a materialistic culture. The man who loved islands wishes to build a paradise of his own mind, liking and satisfaction. He believes that most of the people have cheated him so he sells his first island and goes to another one. There falls in love with a lady and when the woman becomes pregnant, he marries her. Later we find him to be a very silent man who is solitary and lonely and is miserable to die soon.

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The Man Who Loved Islands Summary

The Man who loved Islands is a very interesting story that recounts of a man’s utmost desire to build a place free of tensions, but ironically, it is the man who builds it is caught up by its intricacies. Lawrence in the story, The Man Who Loved Islands, talks about a man who is passionately in love with islands. The islander is a strange man as he was born in an island and he didn’t like those who loved around him because he complains that there are too many people around him. He wants to make a world of his own so he searches for another land which may suit him according to his temperament. He hits one island which is one very populated and not big enough. There is much greenery and birds of nature sing melodious songs around. This island was beautiful in all season; but people gradually people started settling there. Soon, there was a mason, cook and carpenter. Islander established a library there and people became thankful to him. Suddenly some tragic events happen there and this island is taken to be malicious.

The islander goes to another island and settles there. This island is smaller than the previous one. He went there with his books a few companions. He started his work there, he worked very hard and like before, and he made this island a place worth-living. He was respected and admired by the people of the island. He got married. A daughter was born to her wife and he began to think this island as a rotten thing. So he decided leave this island too and went to another island. The islander had to move. The small island was very small, but being a hump of rock in the sea, it was bigger than it looked. The island moved himself, with all his books, into the commonplace six-roomed house up to which you had to scramble from the rocky landing-place. The Master’s books filled two rooms. It was already autumn, Orion-lifting out of the sea. And the dark night, the Master could see the lights on his late island, where Hotel Company were entertaining guests who would advertise the resort for honeymoon-golfers. On his lump of rock, however the Master was still master. Yes, it was an island. Always, always underneath among the rocks the Celtic Sea sucked and washed and smote its feathery grayness. How many different noises of the sea! Deep explosions, rumbling, strange long sighs and Whistling noises; than voices, real voices of people clamoring as if they were in a market, under the waters: and again, the far-off ringing of a bell, surely an actual bell! The sea, and the spume and the weather, had washed them all out, washed them out so there was only the sound of the sea itself, its own ghost. myriad-voiced, communing and plotting and shouting all winter long. Green star Sinus stood over the sea’s rim. The island was a shadow. Out-at sea a ship showed small lights. The old carpenter, the widow and daughter were all faithfulness itself. The old man worked while ever there was light to see, because he had a .passion for work. The island was no longer a ‘world’.

The island no longer struggled for anything. It was as if he- and his few dependents were a small flock of sea-birds alighted on this rock, as they travelled through space, and keeping together without a word. It was the one strange sound on the island, the typewriter. But soon even its spattering fitted in with the sea’s noises, and the wind’s. The islander worked away in his study, the people of the island went quietly about their concerns. The goat had a little black kid with yellow eyes. There were mackerel in the sea. The old man fishing in the row-boat with the lad, when the weather was calm enough: they went off in the motor-boat to the biggest island for the post. The strange stillness from all desire was a kind of wonder to the islander. There was never a primrose on his island, but he found a winter-aconite. There were two little sprayed bushes of blackthorn, and some wind-flowers. Bladder champion, orchids, stitchwort, celandine, he was prouder of them than if they had been people on his island. The name sounded splendid. I’ll show it you if you like.’ Everybody on the island knew. It was low, it rose low out of the great ocean, only northern sea-turf, a pool of rain-water, a bit of sedge, rock, and sea-birds. For several days, owing to the seas, he could not approach it. Then, in a light sea-mist, he landed, and saw it hazy. Then on the dampness, to the grey sea sucking angrily among the rocks. This was indeed an island.

The third island was too habituated. He established his house near the bay where he pulled up his boat. He watched the sea sight and enjoyed the birds and plants around and at the sea. But gradually, he wanted to listen to the sound of the sea only and wanted all the animals killed and he became a misanthrope. The season changed and the island was covered with heavy snow. The snow made him happy because he thought that no man will come to him. Weak, faint, he toiled home. It snowed all the time. Rumbling of thunder, and flashes of lightning blinking reddish through the falling snow. Morning seemed never to come. The blackish sea churned and champed, seeming to bite at the snow, impotent. It was cold, freezing hard in the wind, even when the sun came out for a while, and showed him his white, lifeless surroundings, the black sea rolling sullen, flecked with dull spume, away to the horizons. Snow was falling in hard crumbs, that vanished as if by a miracle as they touched the hard blackness of the sea. Hoarse waves rang in the shingle, rushing up at the snow. The wet rocks were brutally black. And all the time the myriad swooping crumbs of snow, demolish, touched the dark sea and disappeared. During the night there was a great storm. The snow was up to the top of his door. In the snow itself, the sea resounded. The wind dropped. How long it went on, he never knew. Once, like a wraith, he got out and climbed to the top of a white hill on his unrecognizable island. One day he felt that the sun was hot and he climbed the top of the hill and recognized that it was a summer season. As he witnessed darkness outside, he felt the same inside himself. He became strange to himself because he was a negator of the natural rule and even he was mocked by nature itself.

The Man Who Loved Islands Analysis

The contemporary Spanish novelist Ramon Sender said of Lawrence that he saw the world as if he were the first man. Lawrence was no Wordsworthian boy losing his first inspiration to the onset of time and the prison house, though there was much to fight. In Apocalypse he observed: “Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.” This also what we see in the short story, ‘The Man Who Loved Islands‘.

The Islander is the central character in the story. He was born on the island and he loved it. When he did not like an island, he moved to another one. He was about thirty years old. Sometimes, he was haunted by the mysteries of the island he was in. There were fears of ghosts and pirates. Actually, he built the islands and other people followed and inhabited that island which he eventually left for the fear of overpopulation. He became a misanthrope and wanted to live in isolation.

The island was clever, intelligent and sympathetic. He discussed every day affairs with other fellow islanders. He even taught them and people were thankful to him. Wherever he traveled, he carried his books with him. He was always overpowered by the fascination of the island at first but later became allergic to it. The Islander is a person who wants to explore the mysteries of the natural world. Ultimately, he became nature himself. Like Dr. Faustus or Gullivers, he wants to attain the ultimate knowledge of the world and ironically is self-destroyed by the very thing he desires to acquire.

The Islander is always solitary. After relative neglect following his death, his books came back into print, and he is the subject of numerous memoirs, biographies, and critical studies. This is probably because so many of the problems he dealt with are increasingly urgent and because he explored them with original force, commitment, and style that appeal especially to the young. When World War I broke out, he felt that it was then more important to find the grounds of faith in life itself and the means to a new integration of the individual and society. To this he added the question of the nature of a relationship between man and man that would have the same higher significance as that between man and woman. Religiously and ethically he can be described as a vitalist, finding a source and a guide – in a sense, God – in the “life force” itself as it was manifested in nature, un-tampered with by “mental attitudes.” He was concerned with how this force might be restored to a proper balance in human behavior.

The islander was an idealist who idealized life in its mysterious form. Being delicate and sensitive, he wanted to have everything perfect and happy to his taste. He was a poet by nature. He could see beauty only and could not bear a single defect in the personality and things around him. He almost created a new world  out of each one island that he visited. He is the creator in this sense. Lawrence has created a fantastic character in the form of Islander. Lawrence is regarded of the twentieth century’s most important short-story writers. Through his innovative use of psychological themes and his distinctive application of a heightened realism to quotidian English society, he produced some of the earliest and, some critics believe, finest, modernist prose.

Lawrence demonstrated a wide imaginative range in his short fiction that was often lacking in his novels, and to many observers his fresh masterful approach extended the conventions of the short story genre. Although some critics fault several of Lawrence’s stories for exhibiting failed symbolism, fanatical didacticism, and controversial views, he is nonetheless celebrated for his trenchant insights into the deepest impulses of life, his devotion to illuminating human passion, and his original perspective on the problems posed by human relationships.

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