Jimenez 1 Margaret Jimenez The Agony of Lost Love As I read “The Shadow in the Rose Garden” by D. H.

Lawrence, I felt a sense of overwhelming sadness for the agony and despair this young woman protagonist experienced in this story. The anguish that enveloped her as she discovered she had forever lost her one true love is wrenching, to say the least. This young woman’s desire to return to the Rose garden behind the Rectory, a place she once knew intimately and which holds for her such dear and splendid memories of joy and happiness, is for her, the path to seeking the truth about what happened to her lost love. Although she is now married and seemingly bound forever to another man, she is not in love with him. She still needs to know what has become of that man who had evermore stolen her heart. What had become of her one true love? She thought she had lost him once to death, which is distressing enough but what she discovers is something much more frightening. The man she seeks, still loves and yearns for, is still alive but she has indeed lost him, to another more terrible kind of death. Their love is dead, destroyed forever by the lunacy that now binds him. He is, in fact, a stranger to her now. In that garden she realizes is that he is, but, a shadow of his former self. As she sits in that place of cherished memories, it becomes the place of her encounter with this man, her former lover. He arrives, sits with her and asks her a question, “I don’t disturb you – do I?” but she does not answer. Instead, as the writer puts it, “She was mute and helpless.” Therefore, her former lover asks again, “May I smoke?” and again,

Jimenez 2 She could not answer, but it did not matter, he was in another world. She wondered, craving, if he recognized her – if he could recognize her. She sat pale with anguish. But she had to go through it. What torment, what agony she must have felt at that moment! To know that he no longer recognized her! He looked at her vacuously but he no longer saw the woman of his dreams. He no longer recognized the woman who had once fulfilled his passionate desires. She is lost to him forever as he is to her, trapped in the mind of a mad man. I imagine that inwardly, she reeled at the shock of her discovery but outwardly, the writer states that she sat “in a frozen kind of suspense”. I could sense her frustration at the banality of her daily existence. I could sense her despair at being trapped in a loveless marriage to a man she cannot even bear to look at. I could feel how strongly she desired to be with the one who once held her heart but is now rendered helpless and lost to her by his mental incapacity. I certainly sympathized with her longing to be loved, truly and passionately. I know I have wanted the experience of my true love to last forever. I wish I could say that I have found that one person who fulfills all my ideals for love, passion and companionship. I wish I could say that my husband completes me; however, after almost 16 years of marriage, what I have learned is that true love does not depend on fervent desires and warm sentiments. My own personal experience has taught me that the foundation of true love is one of mutual respect and a commitment or willingness to work at the relationship through good and bad times. I am grateful that my true love is not lost to me. For whatever faults my husband possesses I feel fortunate that I have him and that he loves me through thick and thin and is committed.

Jimenez 3 I know that love’s emotions do wane after time so I feel much compassion for our heroine because she has not only lost her lover while her affection for him still burned deeply in her heart but also now she finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage. Why she wed, I do not know. Perhaps she was resigned to the fact that her lover was lost to her forever and so her hope for true love was now gone too. However, entering into this loveless marriage did nothing to dissipate her feelings for her former love. As intensely as she loves one man, she despises the other. She tells her husband about her former lover and as she does so you feel how hard her heart is towards him and how intense her pain and suffering. It is a tragedy beyond words to feel as she does. She is truly grieving. This whole circumstance causes a breach between her and her husband that is irreparable. She knows nothing within her can take away the bitterness and the madness. Madness, as in what inhabits the mind of her former lover, and madness, as in the rage that wells up within her husband. This is her lot in life but finally she realizes that her acceptance of true love’s “demise” and her feelings towards her husband and marriage “must work itself out.” At the end of the story, the writer tells us, “They were both shocked so much, they were impersonal, and no longer hated each other.” It is torturous to realize that the love you once cherished with all that is within you is now lost forever. This is truly the agony of lost love.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful