The Role of Mrs. Morel and Miriam in Paul’s Life

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The role of Mrs. Morel and Miriam in Paul’s life

The relationship between Paul and Miriam is one of the central themes in “Sons and Lovers”, since it is through this relationship that Paul faces his issues regarding his mother’s role in his life and women. Even though Clara is later part of the theme of Paul, women and his difficulty in committing, it can be argued that Mrs. Morel, Paul and Miriam are somewhat a love triangle.

The fact that Miriam shares certain personality traits with Mrs. Morel is what leads to Mrs. Morel dislike of her. For instance, both women have a desire to love and take care of Paul in an overprotective and spiritual way. In Mrs. Morel case, her controlling attitude towards Paul is a result of Mr. Morel’s absence and the death of William, who was the object of her affection. Miriam’s love can be seen the same way as Mrs. Morel’s, that is, a spiritual type of love, since she is reluctant to have a physical relationship with Paul and is more centered in a platonic and intellectual area. The type of love that Miriam feels for Paul is clearly shown on chapter 7: “If she could be mistress of him in his weakness, 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.” Even though the idea of “having Paul in her arms” might suggest physical desire, in Miriam’s case it reflects her yearn to take care of Paul, like somebody that saves his life. Although she and Paul eventually have physical intimacy, she sees such intimacy as a sacrifice, something she must do in order to be with Paul.

One the reasons why Mrs. Morel disapproves of Paul’s relationship with Miriam is the fact that she regards her as a rival. In other words, Mrs. Morel sees in Miriam somebody that can replace her role as a “mother” who is in control of Paul’s life. Mrs. Morel’s dislike is clearly shown in the remark she makes on chapter 7: “She [Miriam] is one of those who will want to suck a man’s soul out till he...
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