An Interpretation of "Last Words to Miriam - D. H. Lawrance"

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‘Last Words to Miriam' – An Interpretation
Submitted By:

Jeet Kumar Gupta
2001115
D. H. Lawrence's Son's and Lover's is a study of human relationships. Gertrude Morel, because of her turbulent and odd relationship with her husband, ends up developing deep emotional relations with her two eldest sons'. The second eldest in particular, Paul, is the receiver of most of this deep emotion. Because of these feelings and the deeper-than-usual emotional bond between the two, Paul has difficulty being comfortable in his own relationships. Paul's relationship with Miriam is plagued by his mother's disapproval, jealousy, and Miriam's own spirituality. Paul's relationship with Miriam is one where the love is not allowed to flourish. Although there is no doubt that there is love between the two, the forces around them create tension that suppresses it. Miriam believes herself not nearly as beautiful as she really is. Because of this she is always looking for things to love her. In the case of Paul she believes that if Paul was to need her, if she could take care of him, "if he could depend on her, if she could, as it were, have him in her arms, how she would love him." However, this is never allowed to happen. Paul's mother Gertrude already occupies this space in his life. Thus the relationship between the two is a struggle for an identity. The relationship is a struggle between Paul and his mother and Paul and Miriam. The main conflicts between Paul and Miriam are between physical-spiritual differences and his mother. We have already discussed direct interpretations for this poem in class. I would like to present here an alternate interpretation for this poem. Miriam – Virgin Mary. For Catholics, the figure of Mary represents purity, submission to the will of God, perfected femininity, the Church, ideal motherhood, and the new Eve. ‘Last words to Miriam' can be looked upon as the last words that Lawrence has to say to his mother. Dissolution of images is a psychological phenomenon which we encounter in our everyday lives. We have instant liking or disliking for a person because we associate that person with someone who we already know. Lawrence has the image of his mother dissolved with the image of Miriam as he is writing this poem.

Yours is the sullen sorrow,
The disgrace is also mine;
Your love was intense and thorough,
Mine was the love of a growing flower
For the sunshine.

Lawrence's Mother has a very bad relationship with his father. The dark sorrow is the sorrow that his mother is in all through her life being married to his father. Lawrence hates his father and it's a disgrace for him to be called his child. His mother's love was deep and Lawrence needs his mother's love like a flower needs sunshine to grow.

You had the power to explore me,
Blossom me stalk by stalk;
You woke my spirit,
you bore me To consciousness,
you gave me the dour
Awareness — then I suffered a balk.

Lawrence has great influence of his mother in his writing. He acknowledges the fact that his mother helps his creativity reach new heights. ‘You woke my spirit' – She is the one with whom he wants to explore his spiritual being. But, then he realizes that how much his mother affects his life and because of her he is not being able to live his own life. The pause after Awareness is to signify a time period. The awareness is not of a moment but it's a prolonged awareness. Lawrence has been living in a nutshell all his life, then the shell breaks open and he realizes all what he has been living with all his life.

Body to body I could not
Love you, although I would.
We kissed, we kissed though we should not.

Paul imagines that he and his mother will live together when he is old enough to earn money by himself and when his father has died. Paul loves his mother so much that he wants to be with her and spend all of his time with her. To live with his mother by himself is his greatest desire. This is the place when he...
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