Paul’s Psyche in Sons and Lovers
Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence is a novel which follows the protagonist—Paul—as he matures. Through his actions, one can see that his psyche is altered in a way which makes it improbable for him to remain in a successful relationship; proving this alteration, Paul fails in his relationships with both Gertrude and Miriam. Paul cannot succeed in any relationship because his mother altered his Id, Superego, and Ego via implanting ideas in his subconscious.
Inherent in the fact that Gertrude is Paul’s mother, she an influence in determining who he will become. However, Gertrude does not instill the normal morals and ideals in her son; after William’s death from pneumonia and Paul’s outbreak of pneumonia, Gertrude becomes obsessed with Paul. She utilizes Paul to fill the emotional hole left in her by her husband, who she feels is inadequate at providing for her both financially and emotionally. As literary critic Mark Spilka describes, “Here, then, is the planting of the incest germ, the unwitting imposition of the idea of fulfillment in the young boy’s mind. Later on, when Paul becomes the actual agent of his mother’s fulfillment, this idea leads inevitably to the incest-craving. . . and from thence to the disintegration of his essential being” (81). His mother’s actions have several substantial impacts upon Paul’s character; his Id, Superego, and Ego are forever altered. Regardless of her possible intentions for disrupting his psyche, she manages to create a man who cannot partake successfully in any relationship which takes away from the relationship he has with his mother. Just as any child is victim to their parents’ raising, Paul conforms as an adult to the standards his mother set for him as a child.
The Id, as Freud described, is the instinctual force creating desires. Through the novel, Paul is clearly unsure of what he wants in a relationship. He is seeking some...