Parallels and Differences in the Conception of “Love triangle” between D.H. Lawrence’s “Blind Man” and William Faulkner’s “Honor”

Introduction

Any person who has ever loved understands that matters of love are intricate. There are situations when a person falls in love with someone who is already devoted to someone else.

Sometimes an individual can claim to have fallen in love with two persons at the same time! In “The Blind Man,” love revolves around three angles: Maurice, Isabel, and Reid. There is ‘true love’ between Maurice and Isabel, though there are some situations that tend to imply that Bertie Reid loved Isabel ‘differently’. In “Honor,” Buck falls in love with Mildred, who is married to Rogers.

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The story unfolds fast leading to a divorce. Mildred leaves Rogers for Buck. One can neither choose when and how to fall in love nor with whom they will fall in love. Forbidden love is always improper, like loving your friend’s wife. Thus, love triangles are intricate and extremely massive huddles to jump. At times, they seem remarkably fulfilling experiences. Based on the two texts, the paper analyzes the disparities and similarities in the conception of the love triangle.

Love Triangle Analyses

Differences

The two texts present the issue of friendship differently. While Lawrence upholds true friendship, Faulkner allocates no value to it. “… at this point Bertie Reid wrote her a letter. He was Isabel’s old friend, probably a second or third cousin. Both were Scotch.

They had been grown up together, and all their lives they had been friends, she saw him as a brother, even much better than her own brothers …” (Lawrence 3). This quote portrays true friendship. Maurice has been married to Isabel for over 4 years before the Flanders accident takes Maurice’s sight (Delany 26). They undergo some hard times though they manage to cope with exceptionally well.

However, Bertie Reid complicates the story. Reid was Isabel’s friend since childhood. Their friendship blossomed. The words “… count on his taking us out and spending his money on us?’ But he had to choose one that is as poor as we are” (Faulkner “Honor” 3) imply that Mildred does not value friendship or intimate relationship, but is materialistic.

Buck Monaghan quits his job at a car dealership and goes back to flying where he meets Rogers, his new co-pilot in wing walking job (Faulkner Para. 1). Rogers and his wife Mildred invite Buck for dinner and the saga begins. She hints that she and her husband are poor, and Buck ought to take them to dinner. She again hints something devious.

Mildred is materialistic unlike Isabel [Blind Man] who truly loves. She asks her husband why he chose a poor wing-walker as a family friend. She wanted someone rich who could spend money on them like taking them out for dinners. “…that is those things that they say [referring to Mildred], that you think they mean something, only for you to look at them and their eyes look absolutely blank. You then wonder whether they are at least thinking about you, let alone talking about you” (Faulkner “Honor” 3).

This comment by Buck implies immorality, lust. Even though, they have only met at dinner and Mildred is already talking of finding Buck a girl. Buck, however, wishes she thought of him. Buck confirms this assertion in the preceding statement. When he invites them for cocktail, she creates messes that cause Buck into feeling her presence all night.

Lawrence is keen to note that the love Isabel felt for Bertie was different, not sexual desire kind, a portrayed by Faulkner. “…She [Isabel] loved him [Bertie], although not in the marrying sense…they had an affinity. They understood each other instinctively (Lawrence 4). This quote from Honor, showing Isabel’s love for Bertie, makes Maurice jealous. Rogers does not hate Buck because of Mildred. Mildred, however, wants to go with Buck.

She says, “I’m going with you,” she said. “We’ve talked it over and have both agreed that we could not love one another anymore …It’s the only sensible thing to do” (Faulkner “Honor” 28). The words suggest that Rogers has accepted the situation as it is and is ready to give up Mildred if going with Buck would make her happy. The two have already discussed it and reached a decision, to get divorced.

Even though, the Pervins are happily married, Maurice, at times feels odd. He says, “life had strange serene for a blind person, peaceful with almost inexplicable peace and immediate contact in darkness. With his wife, he had a whole world, rich, real, and invisible” (Lawrence 3).

This shows that Maurice did not believe that Isabel would love her truly even without sight. He fears Bertie is competition and resents him. Rogers on his part feels that what Mildred feels for Buck deserves a chance. He does not seek revenge against Buck. Instead, he seeks to know whether Buck loves Mildred.

Parallels

The two texts confirm that nobody is perfect: all people are defective. For instance, Buck views Rogers as “the kind that would just marry one of the flighty, obsessive, nice-looking women he meets in the course of his job and let her slip away at the first opportunity she gets” (Faulkner “Honor” 6).

This suggests that Rogers is impassive towards his wife. However, Mildred is expressive. Buck feels it at their first meeting. He strangely feels safe about it. He imagines that Roger’s wife would not wait for three years to leave Rogers for him (Faulkner Para. 4). When Buck and Roger work together, they seem to get along well because there are no incidences of open confrontation or resentment for each other except for the last job where Buck panics thinking that Roger wants revenge.

Bertie, on the other hand, says, “I suppose we’re all deficient somewhere” (Lawrence 92). In fact, these words summarize the main theme of the story ’The Blind Man’. This shows there is uneasiness in both stories. Initially, Mildred had asked Buck, “Do you want us to find you one?” referring to a woman, but they never talk about that ever again” (Faulkner Para. 4).

That comment is quite intriguing because, after some time, Mildred becomes strangely over affectionate to Buck. This causes the reader to feel that that statement was in a way meant to be provocative sexually to arouse sensual thought in Buck’s mind. This happens exactly this way because, later in the story, Buck gets the girl, Mildred. Their affair culminates into a divorce between Roger. She wants to leave with Buck and marry him because she feels she loves him.

In the two texts, it is arguable that women do every possible thing to prove their love. Buck says, “… When there was a high step or at all of those modest things that men do for women that involve touching them, she had [Mildred] request me to…as I was her husband and not him [Rogers]…” (Faulkner “Honor” 33).

In this statement, it is obvious that Mildred is hinting in every aspect that she loves Buck. By doing all this, things in front of her husband, she is setting a stage to show him that her heart was with Buck Monaghan. In the Blind Man, “Isabel goes to look for Maurice” (Lawrence 132).

This step is indicative of her love for Maurice, the blind man. Even though, Mildred had done everything to show she cared about Buck, there is uneasiness that Buck cannot just overcome. Even when she confronts him in front of her husband claiming she already told Rogers everything and asks Buck to say what he normally tells her when they are alone, he gets sorrowful and panicky.

He just feels women and men look at things differently. He just feels Mildred would have stayed out of that mess for a little while longer to allow him ‘safe exit’. “… therefore, when Maurice was going out to France for the second time, she felt that, for her husband’s sake, she must discontinue her friendship with Bertie.

She wrote to the barrister to this effect” (Lawrence 36). Isabel in this state passage shows so much discretion and concern for her husband. She discontinues her friendship with Bertie when her husband is leaving for France for his sake so that he can be at peace with himself and even with her.

Cross Revealing

In these love stories, Lawrence and Faulkner create drama and teach us fundamental moral life lessons. As the adage goes, love is kind and patient, and love is sacrifice. All these are evident in the characters who demonstrate true love whether it is mere friendship or sexual love affair.

The Blind Man depicts the fact that two people sharing true love can overcome formidable obstacles to stay together. Honor illustrates that some damning outcomes of unfavourable decisions. Eventually, the stories show that “different people want or need different things” (Delany 34).

The stories give different implications of true love but with seemingly different outcomes. Rogers clearly loved Mildred only that his situation was not as clear as between Maurice and Isabel. In the end, the two stories end terribly differently. On their final ‘special job’, Buck assumes Rogers wants vengeance to kill him, though he had not indicated so in any way. He curses Rogers, “you got me, Come on; smirk on the outside of your face. Come on!” (Faulkner Para. 13). Buck feels guilt and that he deserves revenge (Volpe 130).

Maurice becomes a friend with Bertie. “… I obey that decision if indeed it was your wish” (Delany 26). This indicates that Bertie would sacrifice anything not to jeopardise his friendship with Isabel. Isabel goes through hardships with Maurice. However, Bertie is evidently scared of friendship.

He clearly wants to get away from it as Isabel can see (Lawrence 30). The decision to pursue a relationship to different height is often individuals. Therefore, when Maurice has to leave to France again, his loving wife discontinues her friendship with Bertie to earn trust of her husband. Bertie agrees to that. In an interesting manner, he makes sure Isabel knows that he was only doing that for her and not for Maurice. Nonetheless, it suffices to declare the two stories an informative piece of work.

Works Cited

Delany, Paul. We Shall Know Each Other Now: Message and Code in D. H. Lawrence’s “The Blind Man. Contemporary Literature 26.1(1985): 26-39.

Faulkner, William. A Rose for Emily and Other Short Stories Summary and Analysis – Honor, 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2011.

Faulkner, William. Honor. New York: National Broadcasting Company Inc., 1951. Print.

Lawrence, David. The Blind Man. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff Educatief, 1978. Print.

Volpe, Edmond. A Reader’s Guide to William Faulkner: The Short Stories. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2004. Print.

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