of experience for a woman.The radical strategies to combat thisfear becomes a marked trait of Ursula’scharacter shown in her frequent demand thatRupert Birkin tell her he loves her, and inher desire for Birkin but her fears of yielding“her very identity” to him, knowing that hecould accept love only on his terms (178).The symbolic image of the drowned couple provides another negative image of unionand offers evidence of how one partner in amale / female relationship may dominateand possibly destroy the other. To Ursula,Birkin seems “a beam of essential enmity, a beam of light that did not only destroy her, but denied her altogether, revoked her wholeworld. She saw him as a clear stroke of uttermost contradiction, a strange gem-like being whose existence defined her ownnon-existence” (190). To echo Ursula’sstruggle, Birkin insists that “the old way of love seemed a dreadful bondage” (191).His anger over the state of marriage matchesUrsula’s, and in response he also embraces aspecific “conjunction where man had beingand woman had being, two pure beings,each constituting the freedom of the other”(191). He desires impersonal relations between earnest individuals. Lawrenceasserts a similar philosophy in his letter toCatherine Mansfield:I am sick and tired of personality in everyway. Let us be easy and impersonal, notfor ever fingering over our own souls, and the souls of our acquaintances, but tryingto create a new life, a new common life, anew complete tree of life from the rootsthat are within us. (
1: 359)Birkin’s theory of “star equilibrium” takesits thematic cue directly from Lawrence’sown dream of a healthier, less anxiousexchange between lovers and friends.Birkin persuades Ursula to establisha union where each commits to the other while maintaining the integrity of the self.Ursula, however, prefers her own approachto human affection, and tries to provokeverbal declarations of love from Birkin.Ursula asks Birkin so often to confirm thisspiritual dimension of their relationship thatBirkin calls the question her war-cry: “’ABrangwen, A Brangwen,’--and old battle-cry.--Yours is ‘Do you loveme?--Yield knave, or die’” (
, 244).Despite her yearning to be loved and her insistence on the supremacy of love over theindividual, Ursula is fearful that she will beconsumed by him, and she sometimes becomes aggressive in her resistance to suchenvelopment. Lawrence cast Ursula as themodern woman with grasping qualities of the modern cultural degeneration. WhenBirkin comes to propose to Ursula and endsup doing so with her father in the room,Ursula-- flustered, “driven out of her ownradiant, single world” by the unexpected proposal--cries out to both men, “whyshould I say anything?. . . You do this off your
bat, it has nothing to do with me.Why do you both want to bully me?” (253).Her contrariness about whether she is theowner or the owned is succinctly illustrated by a single sentence from her considerationof Birkin’s proposal: “Let him be
utterly, and she in return would be hishumble slave--whether he wanted it or not”(258).Ursula tries to find the balance thatallows her to be so close to Birkin but notwith the sacrifice of her independent soul.