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Sons and Lovers D.H.

Lawrence THE PLOT In the rolling hills and coal-pitted fields of central England, known as the British Midlands, live the Morels, a poor mining family. The family has just moved down in the world from the near y village of Bestwood to the Bottoms, a comple! of working-class row houses. "ertrude Morel is a small, stern woman, pregnant with her third child, #aul, the protagonist of this novel. The Morels$ other children are %illiam and &nnie. But unlike his si lings, #aul is not wanted y his mother. The poverty-stricken household cannot easily handle another hungry mouth to feed. %alter Morel, #aul$s father, is a hardworking coal miner with a lively spirit and a severe drinking pro lem. Mr. and Mrs. Morel were initially attracted to each other ecause they were so different. 'e is working-class, sensual, nonintellectual, and fairly irresponsi le. 'is wife is middleclass, pious, intellectual, and eminently relia le. The passion that held them together in the first glowing months of their marriage cannot survive their social and moral differences. %hen #aul is orn, Mrs. Morel is determined to make him feel loved, to compensate for his unwanted conception. #aul is a fee le, oversensitive child, who seems to e living proof of the shattered love of his mismatched parents. %illiam, the eldest son, is the favorite of the family. 'e$s a great athlete, student, worker, and companion. 'e lands a good jo in (ondon and gets caught up in the e!citing ur an life. 'e ecomes engaged to (ouisa (ily )enys %estern *+"yp+,, a young woman who is eautiful ut not right. Meanwhile, #aul gets an office jo at -ordan$s artificial lim factory in .ottingham. The shop girls, particularly the hunch acked /anny, adore this shy, sweet oy who offers them encouragement and kindness. 'e has also ecome serious a out landscape painting. 0n a holiday visit to the farm of family friends, #aul meets his first sweetheart, Miriam (eivers. &t first, Miriam means far less to #aul than do the other mem ers of the (eivers family, whom he visits fre1uently. In the city, %illiam works endlessly to support his fiancee$s e!travagant whims. 'e resents "yp$s frivolity and stupidity ut is se!ually enthralled y her. 2he satisfies his passion, without loosening his mother$s hold on his heart and mind. The conflict etween %illiam$s attraction to "yp and his devotion to Mrs. Morel eventually undermines his health. 'e dies of pneumonia in his cold, lonely (ondon flat *apartment,.

.ow all Mrs. Morel$s passions and aspirations pour into #aul. &s he ecomes the center of his mother$s universe, he truly egins to live. The (eivers ecome like a second family to #aul. 2oon, the daughter Miriam grows closest to the sensitive, artistic youth. The two share long, idyllic walks through the countryside, talking and reading to each other. #aul helps Miriam overcome her many physical fears, such as clim ing fences and letting the arnyard chickens eat out of her hand. 'e teaches her /rench and alge ra, opening up a new, e!citing world. Miriam appeals to #aul$s own growing mysticism and creativity and loves nurturing #aul$s artistic growth. They e!perience an intense relationship ut don$t know how to e!press it physically. &s #aul grows into manhood, he finds his a stract, spiritual relationship with Miriam unsatisfactory. Mrs. Morel, however, is jealous of Miriam$s influence over #aul. 2he fears Miriam will suck the life and energy out of him with her dreamy mysticism. #aul, in turn, ecomes frustrated y Miriam$s otherworldliness. 'e eventually reali3es he wants to have a se!ual relationship with her, ut can$t get up the courage to make a pass at her. 'e knows how much she fears se!. 4onfused and frustrated, #aul starts to hate Miriam and treat her cruelly. &t the (eivers farm, #aul meets 4lara )awes, a political and social activist who has left her unfaithful hus and. &s the relationship etween Miriam and #aul ecomes more hopeless, his affinity for the older, sensuous 4lara develops. 4lara suggests to #aul that Miriam might actually want him as a man and helps him find the courage to approach Miriam as a lover. /inally #aul and Miriam make love. The act dissatisfies oth of them. Miriam acts as if making love is an unenjoya le sacrifice she endures for #aul$s enefit only. #aul can$t stand feeling that his wanting Miriam as a woman hurts her. 'e finally follows his mother$s advice and ends his affair with Miriam. In hope of finding an outlet for his intense se!ual passions, he turns to 4lara. #aul and 4lara have an affair. 2he satisfies his sensuality without reaking his attachment to his mother. But 4lara, like Miriam, wants to make their relationship permanent, or at least sta le. This is impossi le ecause of #aul$s devotion to Mrs. Morel. #aul comes to efriend 4lara$s hus and, Ba!ter, who has not hidden his hatred for #aul and even thrashed him for having an affair with his wife. %hile Ba!ter is in the hospital, #aul visits him, then helps place the roken man in a convalescent home. Meanwhile, #aul$s mother is dying of stomach cancer. .either #aul nor his sister &nnie can ear to see their mother in pain. #aul finally gives her an overdose of morphine to end her suffering. &fter his mother$s death, #aul feels that life isn$t worth living. 'is relationship with 4lara has disintegrated, and he decides to renounce her. 4lara, elieving she will never get close to #aul, goes ack to Ba!ter.

#aul remains in deep despair over his mother$s death. 'e can$t do anything ut mourn and think a out dying. Eventually, his will to live wins out. #aul heads toward the la3ing lights of .ottingham and a new life

THE CHARACTERS

PAUL MOREL #aul Morel, the protagonist of 2ons and (overs, is ased on the youthful ). '. (awrence. #aul is a young man in the painful process of growing up. 'e$s also gradually discovering that he$s a gifted artist. Most important to the story, #aul is torn etween his passion for two young women, the mystical Miriam and the sensual 4lara, and his unyielding devotion to a possessive mother. 5ou may see #aul merely as a fellow under the thum of a dominating mother. 2ome readers feel that his feeling for her is more passionate and that his difficulties with Miriam and 4lara stem from this unresolved passion. 0nly her death frees him at the end. &nother view of #aul is that he derives great strength from his mother and is inspired rather than crippled y his relationship to her. The failure of his relationship with Miriam, according to this view, is caused more y her horror of physical intimacy, than y "ertrude Morel$s superior place in #aul$s affections. 'ow you interpret #aul$s relationship with his mother will have much to do with your view of her character. &nother of #aul$s conflicts centers on his apparent hatred for his father. 5ou can see #aul$s a horrence of %alter Morel$s vulgarity and alcoholism, ut you can also see his imitation of %alter$s carefree spirit and lust for life. Isn$t some of #aul$s own rutality to Miriam derived from his father$s ehavior6 In some people$s eyes, masculine virility is only another version of rutality. Many readers see #aul$s inner conflicts as a reflection of his parents$ very different personalities and class ackgrounds. 'e com ines his father$s working-class simplicity, spontaneity, and sensuality with his mother$s middle-class steadfastness, intellectualism, and social am ition. #aul can e viewed as the volatile offspring of oth the lower and the middle classes. 'e can also e seen as a lova le, charismatic character. 'e$s often kind and jovial, especially to his mother and the shop girls at -ordan$s. #aul shares a healthy companionship with other men. It helps him appreciate the everyday joys of life and escape his rooding tendencies. There$s also a dark, rutal side to #aul. 'e can e very cruel, particularly to his girlfriends. 'e can$t ear Miriam (eivers$ superspirituality when it interferes with his se!ual desires. &fter she finally gives up her virginity to him, he leaves her. "iven the importance of virginity to an unmarried woman in the early twentieth

century, #aul$s treatment of Miriam seems shockingly inconsiderate. 0nce the proud 4lara falls in love with #aul, he leaves her as well, telling her to go home to her hus and. If #aul is such a sensitive, caring young man, why does he do such cruel things6 #aul is a fascinating mi!ture of e!tremes7 vitality and despondency, spirituality and sensuality, love and hate, sensitivity and cruelty. )o you think any of these contradictions are resolved as the story ends6

GERTRUDE MOREL "ertrude Morel is one of the most formida le mothers in all of %estern literature. To the narrator, and perhaps to #aul Morel, she is oth a giving, selfless nurturer of her children and a possessive tyrant. This small, resolute woman with lu!uriant hair and a grim, determined mouth is the a!is from which her children, particularly %illiam and #aul, spin out into life. 2he instills them with self-confidence, social and intellectual am itions, and a great joy in living. &t the same time, she dislikes her sons$ girlfriends and makes it difficult for her sons to find happiness with a mate. "ertrude also lets her sons know that she$s living just for them, placing enormous pressure on their a ility to +cut the apron strings.+ Mrs. Morel is a character you must watch carefully. 2he often seems to e doing wonderful things for her children, ut the resulting impact on their lives cripples them. Many readers feel that Mrs. Morel is so important to %illiam and #aul that all other women come up short when compared to her. These readers elieve that %illiam dies, not of pneumonia, ut really ecause he can$t resolve the conflict he feels etween marrying his girlfriend "yp and remaining devoted to his mother. #aul, too, will have a hard time feeling satisfied with his lovers. &t one point he even says that he$ll never find a wife while his mother lives- nor does he. &ccording to modern psychological theory, as formulated y /reud and others, "ertrude Morel has replaced her hus and with her sons. &lthough Mrs. Morel adores her sons, she is certainly capa le of hate. %e see this in her relationship with her coarse, uneducated hus and and with #aul$s first love, Miriam. "ertrude, rought up in the respecta le middle class, can$t accept her hus and$s irresponsi ility or drinking ha its. &s a result, she writes him out of her life and puts all her passion into the children. &s you read the novel you$ll have to decide for yourself if her hatred of %alter Morel is justified. "ertrude$s dislike of Miriam can e viewed as justified or unjustified. 2ome readers agree with "ertrude that Miriam tries to suck all the energy out of #aul$s life and make him into a disem odied spirit. 0ther readers feel that "ertrude$s dislike of Miriam is selfish. 2he fears the young girl will take her son away from her.

&lthough "ertrude Morel makes it difficult for #aul to find a suita le mate, she clearly doesn$t want him left alone when she dies. 2he wants him to find satisfaction in work and marriage. "ertrude feels he$ll achieve this y marrying a lady and ecoming a respecta le, successful middle-class hus and. But her idea of a suita le lifestyle may not e what #aul actually needs or desires. Mrs. Morel is right, however, to discern that her son needs a wife who e1uals him in strength, intelligence, and warmth. %hile Mrs. Morel comes across as icy and overly pious at times, #aul tells you that at one time she had known true passion with her hus and and that it awakened her need for a full, vital life. 2he hates to give up living, even when she$s terminally ill. Mrs. Morel wants to cling to life and reali3e her social and intellectual aspirations through #aul. %hen she finally dies, his emptiness seems total. #aul has een oth lessed and cursed with such an e!traordinary mother.

WALTER MOREL %alter Morel is #aul$s rough, sensual, hard-drinking father. In many ways, he is his wife$s opposite. %alter is from a lower-class mining family. 'e speaks the local dialect in contrast to his wife$s refined English. 'e loves to drink and dance, practices that "ertrude, a strict 4ongregationalist, considers sinful. There are two ways to look at %alter Morel$s failure to e a good hus and, father, and family readwinner. 5ou can see him as a man roken y an uncaring, rutal industrial system and an overly demanding wife. 5ou can also see %alter as his own worst enemy, inviting self-destruction through drink and irresponsi ility. 5ou learn a good deal a out %alter$s good and ad 1ualities in 2ons and (overs, %hile (awrence seems to concentrate on the character$s violence and irresponsi ility, he also gives you a picture of %alter$s warm, lively, loving ways. The key scenes of family happiness revolve around the time when %alter stays out of the pu s and works around the house, hugging his children and telling them tall stories of life down in the mines.

MIRIAM LEIVERS Miriam (eivers, #aul$s teenage friend and sweetheart, was modeled after (awrence$s own young love, -essie 4ham ers. &s -essie was with (awrence, Miriam is #aul$s devoted helpmate in his artistic and spiritual 1uests. &lthough eautiful, she takes no pleasure in her physical attri utes. 'er whole life is geared toward heaven and a mystical sense of nature. #aul and Miriam$s first ond is their mutual love of nature. 2ons and (overs tells of their many idyllic country walks. 'owever, whereas Miriam wants to a sor nature, #aul just wants to live in harmony with it. (ater, #aul will come to feel, as his mother does, that Miriam wants to a sor his life as well.

Miriam is a loner. By her own choice, she has few friends. %hen #aul thinks that perhaps they should marry for appearance$s sake, she$s mortally offended. Though Miriam is physically and socially timid, she refuses to live her life in accordance with superficial standards of eti1uette. Most of #aul$s family and friends feel put off y Miriam. 2he$s too intellectual and otherworldly even to know how to hold an ordinary conversation. 2he lacks the normal joys of living. 'er life is an e!treme of agony or ecstasy. This lack of normalcy and plain fun is one of the things #aul hates a out her. There are two warring sides to Miriam- her love of #aul Morel and her resistance to her se!ual feelings toward him. 'er mother taught her that se! is one of the urdens of marriage, and though she doesn$t want to elieve it, she can$t help ut listen to the woman who$s shaped her life. %hen Miriam finally gives in to #aul, she does it in a spirit of self-sacrifice that disappoints oth of them. Miriam$s ina ility to enjoy se! makes her an incomplete person in the (awrentian world, where se! as well as spirituality is necessary to an individual$s fulfillment. Miriam is a very comple! character. &t times you feel that (awrence himself is trying to understand e!actly what she$s like. The narrator, like #aul, fluctuates etween pitying and condemning her. But ecause there are so many opposing elements to Miriam, you have an opportunity to figure out who she really is and what she wants, through your own investigation and interpretation.

CLARA DAWES 4lara )awes is the sensuous older woman who comes to replace Miriam as the love interest in #aul$s life. It is with 4lara that #aul learns the importance of se! as humanity$s deepest link with nature and the cosmos. 4lara is depicted as a new twentieth-century woman. 2he$s a feminist efore it was fashiona le. )etermined to e independent, she leaves her hus and, earns her own living, and has an e!tramarital affair with #aul. 4lara can e viewed as representative of the many post-8ictorian women who re elled against the traditional image of woman as the +weaker se!.+ 4lara is e!traordinarily intelligent, with a good critical mind. But you get little demonstration of this aspect of her personality, since the story concentrates on her physical attractiveness to #aul. 4lara, unlike Miriam, is ursting with a lusty, animal passion. 2he is #aul$s match for fearlessness, sensuality, and intelligence. &t the same time, she lacks Miriam$s spirituality and sensitivity. %ithout these 1ualities, can she stimulate #aul$s work as an artist6 &t first 4lara acts condescending to #aul. 'e$s convinced she hates all men. 2he$s certainly itter a out male9female relationships. 'er hus and Ba!ter rutali3ed

her and was unfaithful. )oes this mean that she hates men, or that she$s had an unsatisfying married life6 (ater, when #aul delivers a message to 4lara at her mother$s home, you see 1uite another side of this proud, independent woman. 2he$s humiliated and e!hausted y her sweatshop la or, as she and her mother spend grueling hours making lace. Even though they have the freedom to work at home rather than on an assem ly line at one of .ottingham$s many factories, these women are still e!ploited, underpaid victims of the industrial system. #aul helps 4lara get ack her old overseer$s jo at -ordan$s, and they ecome good friends through his generosity. Their su se1uent love affair gives them oth a new, e!pansive sense of life. %ith 4lara, #aul finds the sensual fulfillment he can$t have with either Miriam or his mother. #aul awakens 4lara$s se!uality, something she missed with her hus and. 2ome readers feel that 4lara is the least successful of the major characters in 2ons and (overs. They elieve she comes across merely as a vehicle for #aul$s passion and as a very shallow caricature of the +new woman.+ 'ow do you think (awrence succeeds in drawing 4lara )awes6 'ow does he fail6

WILLIAM MOREL %illiam is #aul$s older rother. 'e$s ased on (awrence$s own rother Ernest, who was the pride and joy of his family. (ike his fictional counterpart, Ernest died in (ondon at an early age. %illiam is ro ust and merry like his father. 'e$s also intellectual and responsi le like his mother. 'e$s "ertrude$s darling ecause he distinguishes himself early and remains devoted to her. %hen he goes off to a promising jo in (ondon, he meets and falls in love with a shallow-minded eauty, (ouisa (ily )enys %estern *+"yp+,. 2he satisfies his passion and fulfills his aspiration to marry someone from a higher social class, ut leaves his mind and soul unfulfilled. 2ome readers think that %illiam chooses such an unsuita le mate ecause he fears having a woman who might usurp his mother$s place in his heart. (awrence, in an unpu lished foreword to 2ons and (overs, ascri es %illiam$s death from pneumonia to his internal struggle etween his physical passion for a young, frivolous woman and his true love for his mother.

LOUISA LILY DENYS WESTERN ("GYP") "yp is %illiam Morel$s fiancee. 2he$s a flighty, foolish, ut eautiful young woman whose family has fallen upon hard times. Even though she is forced to work as a secretary, "yp still treats people like the Morels as inferiors.

THE OTHER MOREL CHILDREN

&nnie Morel is #aul$s older sister. 2he ecomes a schoolteacher and marries her childhood friend, (eonard. &rthur Morel is #aul$s younger rother. 'e$s much like %alter Morel, unintellectual and fun- loving. 'e marries Beatrice %yld, a friend of &nnie$s.

THE LEIVERS The (eivers are Miriam$s family. They provide a home-away-from-home for #aul. #aul is very close to Mrs. (eivers, a flighty, mystical woman very different from his pragmatic mother. 'e$s also friendly with the strong, rationalistic Edgar, Miriam$s oldest rother. The (eivers family give #aul much support.

SETTING 2ons and (overs is set in the British Midlands at the turn of the twentieth century. This is a region in central England that is highly industriali3ed. /actories, coal pits, and ugly row houses are a undant. 5et, :o in 'ood$s 2herwood /orest is close y the usy industrial city of .ottingham, where #aul works, and the river Trent swirls its way from the city through the wide-open country hills and vales. 2ons and (overs constantly contrasts the sensuous, natural environment with that of the cold, dra monuments of industrial town and city life. #aul grows up in the vicinity of Bestwood, a mining village within an hour$s train ride of .ottingham, a large, factory-lined city. Bestwood, which is ased on (awrence$s irthplace of Eastwood, is a conglomerate of company-owned miners$ dwellings. The homes are ugly and impractical; the adjacent areas, dirty and crowded. The town is surrounded y coal pits, lush green valleys, and old farms, such as %illey /arm, where #aul spends a great deal of time. In 2ons and (overs, natural landscapes are the true home of human se!uality. Most of the lovemaking scenes take place out-of-doors, near rivers, in forests, y the sea. .ature represents life$s eauty and fertility. /lower imagery a ounds in this novel. 5ou$ll see how (awrence uses flowers as oth spiritual and se!ual sym ols. The industrial cityscapes in 2ons and (overs serve to show us how modern technological life ravages people, depriving them of their dignity, sense of eauty, and natural drives. 5ou$ll notice this particularly in the -ordan factory scenes and at 4lara$s home, where she$s a +slave+ to the cottage-industry of lace-making. 'er jo is 1uite similar to ones in the computer industry, where people are often paid minimum wages to make various computer parts at home. &t the same time, town life means human community, with its ongoing survivalist drive. 5ou$ll see at the end of the novel that #aul walks away from the dark, uninha ited country fields and toward the right city lights. 2ome readers see this act as #aul$s walking away from death and toward life. 4onsider this interpretation in light of (awrence$s comparison of city and country. Is it consistent to identify the city with life and the country with death6

THEMES 'ere are some major themes of 2ons and (overs. They will e discussed in depth in +The 2tory+ section of this guide. ! SONS" MOTHERS" AND THE OEDIPUS COMPLE# 5ou can look at 2ons and (overs as a story of the unnatural devotion of #aul Morel to his possessive mother. Many readers see the novel as a fictional study of the +0edipus comple!,+ descri ed y (awrence$s contemporary, the founder of psychoanalysis, 2igmund /reud. /reud took the old "reek myth of 0edipus, in which the hero unknowingly kills his father and marries his own mother, as a reflection of man$s su conscious se!ual desires. /reud re elled against the 8ictorian idea that children are ase!ual. 'e elieved that a child$s earliest se!ual attraction *at a out three to five years of age, is to the parent of the opposite se!. /reud concluded his theory with the warning that if a oy did not eventually suppress this attraction and egin to identify with his father, he would never e a le to transfer his early love for his mother to a suita le partner. #aul Morel seems very much like a man suffering from an 0edipus comple!. &t times #aul$s relationship with "ertrude is distur ingly passionate. 'e hates his father and dreams of living e!clusively with his mother. #aul has grave pro lems finding a satisfying relationship with any woman other than his mother. The novel traces his unsuccessful attempts to reconcile spiritual love, se!ual passion, and filial devotion. Mrs. Morel encourages her son$s dependence and is envious of Miriam, her rival for his affection. &long with the 0edipus comple!, you$ll want to consider the positive aspects of #aul$s relationship with his mother. 2he encourages his art, education, and social advancement. In many ways, Mrs. Morel em odies the 8ictorian concept of the ideal mother. 2he lives for her sons and will do anything to see them make their way in the world. #aul$s life on his own is just eginning at the novel$s end. )o you think Mrs. Morel$s influence on her son will prove to e for etter or for worse6 $! MAN%WOMAN LOVE 2ons and (overs is an investigation of love etween men and women. #aul has a spiritual love with Miriam and a se!ual one with 4lara. Both relationships leave him unfulfilled ecause #aul needs a love that com ines oth spiritual and se!ual elements in one woman. (awrence clarified and developed his ideas on the importance of man9woman love in his later novels. 2till, in this novel you get a strong feeling that survival in modern, industrial society depends on strong heterose!ual relationships. 2uch a relationship is only possi le when oth man and woman are spiritually and physically vital. #aul Morel$s unfulfilled 1uest for this sort of relationship is a major theme of 2ons and (overs.

2e! is a one of contention etween #aul and his two loves, Miriam and 4lara. Both women want a personal, emotional relationship, whereas #aul views se! as rather impersonal. The woman isn$t e!actly an o ject, ut a catalyst for man$s mystical communion with nature. 4lara and Miriam oth feel that #aul doesn$t make love to them as individuals, ut as sym ols of womanhood. They feel used, while #aul fears they$re trying to possess and smother him. (awrence felt that modern, industrial life caused such se!ual warfare etween men and women. 2e!, which the author viewed as a healthy e!pression of man$s link to "od and nature, had een perverted y 8ictorian morality and the dehumani3ation of mechani3ed, industrial life. (awrence$s sense of se! as good was alien to the 8ictorian elief that it was evil and eastly. 2e! was not supposed to e a topic of conversation etween a man and a good woman. The character of Miriam is a depiction of repressed se!uality common in the 8ictorian woman. Many other writers were encouraged y (awrence$s old descriptions of the se!ual act and continued his revolutionary work in their own novels. &! THE MATURATION O' AN ARTIST 2ons and (overs tells the story of an individual growing up to ecome a talented painter and a deeply sensitive, trou led young man. The novel traces #aul$s discovery of his need and a ility to paint. &rt for #aul is inspired y nature and women. The eauty of the countryside stimulates his creativity, as do the gentle, devoted encouragement of Miriam, the sensuality of 4lara, and the protective, sensi le nurturing of Mrs. Morel. &s the novel progresses, #aul ecomes more and more confident in his paintings. 'e starts to elieve he$ll make a great artist someday. %hat$s most interesting a out #aul as an artist is the way he sees things. 'e im ues raindrops, irds, and wildflowers with a supernatural vitality. They appear to him like miraculous affirmations of rilliant, individualistic lives struggling against eternal darkness and chaos. The artist$s mission in life, according to (awrence, is to help others see eyond the commonplace and into life$s mystery and wonder. &t -ordan$s factory, #aul draws the local shop girls in such a way as to make each of them appear uni1ue. 'e makes the girls see their own inner eauty and specialness. (! CLASS CON'LICT 5ou can see 2ons and (overs as a novel that epitomi3es the conflict etween the unskilled, ill- educated working class and the rigidly moral, emotionally and se!ually inhi ited middle class. %alter Morel, a sym ol of the working class, has the positive 1ualities of instinct, warmth, and spontaneity. 'is wife, "ertrude, a sym ol of the middle class, em odies their work ethic and their intellectual and

social aspirations. "ertrude and %alter ought to complement one another with their very different positive points, ut in fact they, like the lower and middle classes, can$t get along. In 2ons and (overs, the lower class$s hatred of sno ery and phony propriety and the middle class$s concern with money and social advancement cause "ertrude and %alter to come to lows. (awrence in his own life and later novels sought a way of ringing these two social realms into harmony. 2ons and (overs can also e viewed as a working-class novel, a novel that focuses on the everyday lives, trials, and tri ulations of unskilled, poor la orers. Through (awrence$s words, you get a vivid picture of what it was like to e a miner or a factory worker around the turn of the century. )! INDUSTRIAL LI'E VS! NATURE %e have a sense in 2ons and (overs that modern industrial life perverts people. They$re cut off from nature and their own instinctive se!uality. Industrialism and its rigid moral code enslaves nature and discounts the sensual and aesthetic needs of humans. &s you read the novel, pay close attention to the narrator$s description of -ordan$s factory and the way that 4lara and #aul, on a rief escape from work, view the cityscape as a scar on the countryside. /actory life with its enforced confinement and long working hours isolates man from the natural world that is his true connection to the life force. /lowers, water, and other natural images are identified with sensuality and eauty, while the mines ury the fields in dust and darkness. *! OPPOSING 'ORCES+ LIGHT AND DAR, 2ons and (overs deals constantly in oppositions, such as light and dark. (awrence elieved that oppositions in the grand scheme of things form a completeness, rather than a vicious, irreconcila le struggle. (ight stands for rational life and day-to-day reality. It is most strikingly associated with Mrs. Morel. )arkness sym oli3es the wonder and mystery of e!istence, as well as the human su conscious and rute instinct. This 1uality is e!emplified in %alter Morel, who every day descends deep into the earth. To (awrence, light and dark, like life and death, opened naturally into each other. %hen you come to %illiam$s death in 4hapter <, you$ll notice that the coffin is rought from the dark into the family$s lighted parlor. (awrence, always ill and close to dying himself, felt that death was a natural e!tension of life and should e treated as such. To deny death, he elieved, was truly to deny life. STYLE (awrence uses a com ination of realistic description and poetic images to create the world of 2ons and (overs. :ealism is a style of writing that attempts to descri e in a true-

to-life manner concrete, everyday events. #oetic narrative, on the other hand, serves to lift life out of its normality, making it seem supernatural or sym olic of universal themes outside ordinary daily e!perience. #oetic narrative achieves this feat y using word comparisons, metaphors and similes, many adjectives, or ela orate and rhythmical language, rather than everyday speech. The realism in 2ons and (overs is strongest in the first half of the novel, where the narrator descri es the Morel family$s day-to-day e!istence. Mr. Morel hammers away at work, and the children help him along with his tasks. Mrs. Morel goes out marketing and comes home with a load of domestic treasures. The narrator also uses realistic detail to great effect when he presents the miners dividing their weekly pay in the Morel home. The men$s gestures are carefully descri ed in almost photographic detail. The realism of 2ons and (overs gives you an accurate picture of working-class life at the turn of the century. 5ou come to know, almost as if you were there, the pains and joys of their hard lives. (awrence$s poetry comes to the forefront in his descriptions of nature, where, for e!ample, vivid sunsets and la3ing rose ushes stand out against darkening skies. The poetic portions of 2ons and (overs seem to make the common lives of its characters miraculous and heroic. Many times (awrence uses a pattern that starts in realism, e!pands into lyrical poetic narrative, and then puts you ack on your feet with a return to realism. 5ou$ll notice this particularly in the scenes etween #aul and his women- his mother, Miriam, and 4lara. 'e$ll start them off on a normal walk or conversation and then heighten the language to give you a sense of their souls$ communion. The poetic style serves the purpose of evoking an emotional response in the reader rather than advancing the plot$s action. &s you read 2ons and (overs, try to discover where the different styles are used and what each of them offers. 'ow do they enhance each other and create what$s uni1ue a out the novel as a whole6 (awrence also uses dialect to accurately convey his working-class characters$ conversations. The Midlands dialect is 1uite different from standard English and you may have some difficulty understanding its slang terms, as well as its contractions of words. The dialect often drops eginning consonants of words and employs the old-fashioned +thee+ and +thou+ for +you.+ To (awrence, this sort of language was more warm and intense than standard English. %alter Morel speaks in dialect, emphasi3ing his social ackground and his sensuality. "ertrude Morel, on the other hand, speaks the standard English of the educated middle class. 5ou$ll notice that #aul speaks oth +languages,+ as well as /rench, which he teaches Miriam. #aul uses dialect for sensuous love with the se!ually uninhi ited 4lara and for flirtation with Beatrice. 'e reserves proper English for Miriam and his prim mother. POINT O' VIEW

2ons and (overs is told from the point of view of an omniscient, or all-knowing, narrator. Most of the time, the narrator tells you more a out the characters than they themselves know. This helps you accept and understand actions that might otherwise seem ar itrary or unmotivated. 2ince this ook is highly auto iographical, many readers identify the narrator with (awrence, who seems to e looking ack and trying to come to terms with his own youthful pro lems and feelings through the character of #aul Morel. The narrator$s su jectivity a out #aul shows through. &t times he sympathi3es with #aul, and at other times he condemns him. 5ou may find the other characters judged in a similar way. 2ome readers find the narrator$s changing opinion indicative of (awrence$s own confusion over his various past relationships. 0thers feel that the narrator is simply reflecting how people naturally change their perspective depending on the circumstances. &t times, the narrator seems to step aside and allow the characters to speak for themselves in passages of dialogue. 5ou may feel closer to them when the narrator doesn$t guide your view of their motivations. But don$t forget that the narrator is choosing the speech and actions to e revealed, in order to influence your reactions. 2ometimes, instead of stepping aside, the narrator seems almost to take over a character, even if the result is at odds with that character$s personality. /or instance, when "ertrude Morel is locked out of her house in 4hapter =, she seems mystically transported y her e!perience with the daylilies. But isn$t she really +out of character+6 2ome would say that the narrator *or author6, has stepped into her shoes in such a totally su jective way that he reveals his own artistic and spiritual nature rather than "ertrude$s. 0thers might feel this is the only way to depict a character$s hidden inner feelings. STRUCTURE 2ons and (overs has fifteen episodic chapters, divided into #arts 0ne and Two. #art 0ne deals with the Morel family home life, emphasi3ing social and historical influences. #aul, the protagonist, is not yet the main focus of the novel. The core of #art 0ne is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Morel$s failed marriage and the promise of son %illiam$s success in life. #art 0ne ends with the death of %illiam and Mrs. Morel$s new hope in her younger son, #aul. #art Two egins the story of 2ons and (overs in terms of #aul$s perceptions. #art Two, or the story of #aul$s life, can only egin once the favored son %illiam dies and #aul takes his place in his mother$s heart. This section of the novel concentrates more on the conflicting inner feelings of its characters than on the straightforward, action- and detailoriented realism of #art 0ne. It also focuses on the attle etween Miriam and Mrs. Morel for #aul$s soul. 2ons and (overs moves chronologically from efore #aul$s irth through his life as a young man and ends with his mourning the death of his mother. /lash acks are often

used, particularly in #art 0ne, where (awrence deals with the Morel parents$ premarital ackgrounds and #aul$s early childhood memories. #art Two involves a series of repeated attempts of male9female unions, e!emplified y #aul$s relationship first with Miriam, then with 4lara. Many readers feel that these relationships take forever to resolve and that when they do, the result is 1uite unsatisfactory. 0ther readers elieve that the monotonous repetition of the failed Miriam9#aul relationship theme is deli erate. They feel that 2ons and (overs is structured like ocean waves. There$s a rhythmic return pattern to various themes, such as the decay of Mr. and Mrs. Morel$s love after it has reached its clima!. This serves to show that there are no clear-cut resolutions in life. #eople make the same mistakes again and again. #art Two can e considered a journey from the known, realistic world of #art 0ne into the realm of the unknown, where there are no definitive solutions. #art Two e!plores the su conscious and mysterious forces that motivate people. (awrence saw this sort of e!ploration as far more important than providing his audience with resolutions.