Sons and Lovers

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Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence in 1913 are drawn his own experience of childhood although it is not entirely his story. Lawrence presents an early married life of Morels where father if a hard-working hard-drinking man and mother is a cultured middle-class woman. Born into a family battle their son Paul Morel initially takes her mother’s part until he falls in love with a girl named Miriam. After meeting Miriam, Paul discovers new conflicts of loyalty. Lawrence’s father was a coal miner and hard drinker who was illiterate and Lawrence’s mother came from a refined and pious family who was educated. Difference between miner town and upside countryside, life, and culture of miners and strife between his parents became themes of Lawrence’s early short stories and novels.  Sons and Lovers portray the sexual and emotional conflict of Paul Morel caught between women he attempts to love. The central character Paul Morel can be identified as Lawrence himself and the hard-drinking father, sophisticated mother and an older brother William who died young can be identified as his father, mother, and brother(Ernest who died young). The woman whom Paul loved, Miriam represents Jessie Chambers. In the book, the mother turns to her elder son for the fulfillment of emotions in place of his father. This section was largely reduced by Garnett before publication. Garnett’s editing not only removed this part largely but it also removed much sexual outspokenness and the repetitiveness of the mother’s behavior. When William dies mother turns to Paul for comfort and somehow Paul becomes her victim. Paul’s love for Miriam is undermined by his mother’s dominance over him and even though he loved her very much Paul can not marry anyone who is like his mother. In this frustration, Paul starts an affair with a married woman named Clara Dawes from whom he gets sexual fulfillment but does not get spiritual satisfaction. Only Paul’s death can release him from his mother, and at the end of the book, he is at last free to take up his own life, though it remains uncertain whether he can finally overcome her influence. The whole narrative can be seen as Lawrence’s psychoanalytic study of his own case, a young man’s struggle to gain detachment from his mother.

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