This essay analyzes the growth of industrialization in England at the turn of the century by examining D. H. Lawrence’s 1915 novel, The Rainbow. More specifically, this essay will focus on the role of machine culture and how the growing presence of industry acted as a catalyst for societal destruction. I argue that Lawrence defines machine culture as the worship of the machine, roboticism, the erasure of memory, and misogyny. These social constructs are exposed through the male characters in the novel to express Lawrence’s attitude toward the destructiveness of industrialization. He uses these characteristics to represent the type of men in England who become dangerously enveloped in machine culture while concurrently revealing their tragic fate. In contrast, Lawrence employs the female characters to remedy the destructiveness of the machine. He portrays women as those who prioritize authentic human connection and the ability to self-reflect—ultimately suggesting that women are the heroic carriers who will deliver England to a better future.
In the first movement of my paper, I will investigate the historically relevant movements and philosophies that affected the expansion of English society: industrialization, Futurism, and Vorticism. I will suggest that Lawrence rejected the growth of the movement’s ideologies and feared what an industry-ruled future would mean for humanity. The second movement of my paper will directly survey The Rainbow to reveal the prominence of industrialization’s consequence on human nature, specifically for the men in the novel. Lawrence uses the theme of memory erasure, misogyny, and robotic lifestyles, in addition to the worship of the machine, to display the contrasting effects of industry on men and women.
Ultimately my study of D. H. Lawrence and The Rainbow reveals the inherent nature of man’s inability to reject the machine while women evolve through developing authentic human connections and maintaining a relationship with their past.
Issue and Volume
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
"The Rise of the Machine: The Annihilation of Human Connection in "The Rainbow","
Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism: Vol. 16:
1, Article 15.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/criterion/vol16/iss1/15