Friday, March 6, 2009

Literature + Fashion: Clara Dawes


I've come up with an idea for a new little series within my blog. I LOVE to read and decided to try and tackle the top 100 modern novels along with my brother. Truthfully it really turns out to be more like 114 novels since they list volumes and series as one single book. Anyway, so I've been totally enveloped in Sons & Lovers by DH Lawrence since, oh, November! It started out a bit dreadful, kind of dense and slow moving. But once I hit the half way hump, or more like the 2/3 hump it is incredible! I think it got incredible when it turned more toward the Lovers angle and less from the Son angle, I don't know.

Well my brother is getting certified to teach high school English and I am really fascinated with teaching methods related to Literature. A weakness I have is remembering books in detail after a while has passed since reading them. One idea he had that he does with his students is to imagine what these characters do and what they are like outside of the plot. When  he said that, my mind immediately went to "What were they wearing?" and how can I adapt it to today?

And so I present the character of Clara Dawes. I'll quickly give you a super colloquial summary of Clara. She is an activist in the women's suffragette movement, well educated, beautiful and doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks of her. She evidently also has large hands. What makes her character so interesting is that she takes Paul as a lover. He's the main character of Sons & Lovers, and also DH Lawrence himself, as this is a highly autobiographical novel. He is über traditional, wants his women in the kitchen warming up his milk before bed kind of guy (just like his mother did for him). So he is quite taken by Clara who is strong and independent, and even unhappily married/separated from her husband. Paul and her hubby, Baxter, get into a terrific brawl by the way. So I chose her as my inspiration, although she probably wouldn't wear those shoes to the march.

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