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Sons and Lovers as Psychological Novel

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D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers as a Psychological Novel –
Sons and Lovers belongs to the category of psychological fiction. The remarkable development of psychological novel is a notable phenomenon of the twentieth century literary scene. The psychology of the characters and the typical problems, emanating from a particular psychological pattern form the staple of a psychological novel. This psychological novel has been ushered in by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. The psycho-analytical novel, as the very name implies, lays stress on psycho-analysis. The novelist becomes a psychoanalyst and he brings into focus, the subtle and intricate psychological cross currents. The analysis of the psychology of the characters is what constitutes the motif of a psychoanalytical fiction. The novelist goes deeper and deeper into the innermost crevice of the psychology of his characters and he brings out or externalizes the subtle psychological framework of the characters. It was undoubtedly the great creative fecundity of D. H. Lawrence, which was responsible for the intention of psychological novel. Hence it can be asserted without any fear of refutation that Lawrence is the pioneer of psychological fiction. The psychological theories and concepts enunciated and disseminated by Freud and Jung revolutionized the world of conventional human thought. They, of course, exerted a great formative influence on Lawrence. According to these eminent thinkers and stalwarts of psychology, the human thought is operative at three levels conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious. The mass of human thought lies dormant in the subconscious and the unconscious minds; but it sometimes comes out into the surface. Lawrence as a psychological novelist has sought to externalize the recondite thoughts which lie hidden in the inner recesses of the sub-conscious and unconscious minds. As a corollary to this change in the novelist’s aim and objective a shift is to be noticed in the theme of the modern novel. Instead of portraying the life and activities of an Augustan hero in a vast and Aeschylean scale, the psychological novelist concentrates on the subtle shades of the psyche of his characters. Hence, Lawrence was preoccupied with the inner life of his characters. He set himself to the task of portraying the psyche or ‘the shimmeriness’ and not the hard facts. Robert Humphrey has appositely stated that the modern psychological novel is ‘a type of fiction in which the basic emphasis is placed on exploration of the pre-speech levels of consciousness for the purposes primarily of revealing the psychic being of the characters’. M.I. Muller also subscribes to the view that in the modern psychological novel, as that of Lawrence, we notice ‘a withdrawal from external phenomena in the flickering half-shades of the author’s private world’.

The modern novelists including Lawrence take the readers straight into the psychological plane of the characters and in so doing they allow the readers to discern the incessant flow of sensations and impressions which rise up in the minds of the characters. The psychological novelists including D. H Lawrence have resorted to a new technical device has rendered immense help to the novelists in their bid to lay bare the psyche or the soul of the characters. This ‘stream of consciousness’ technique has made it possible for the novelists of experimenting on time and place. The plot is rescued from the bondage of time. The action does not proceed forward chronologically. The novelist very often flouts the norm and propriety with regard to the logical consistency of time. But this resultant incoherence or inconsistency of structure has been more than compensated by the exquisite delineation of subtle psychology of the characters. In order to suit the artistic purpose, the novelists make the action move forward and backward. In this context, the pertinent observation of David Daichess merited:

“The stream of consciousness technique is a means of escape from the tyranny of the time dimension. It is not only in distinct memories that the past impinges on the present, but also in much vaguer and more subtle ways, our mind floating off down some channel super facially irrelevant, but really having a definite starting off place from the initial situation, so that in presenting the characters’ reactions to events, the author will show us states of mind being modified by associations and recollections deriving from the present situation, but referring to a constantly shifting series of events in the past”.

Lawrence’s bold originality is exemplified by his style, which is impressionistic. His style is more poetic than the prosaic style of others. He has used plants of vivid images and symbols for giving expressions to the complex thought process of psyche of his characters. Long before the efflorescence of ‘the stream of consciousness novels’, Lawrence foreshadowed the style of consciousness novels’, Lawrence foreshadowed these style of is type novels. Liters on Lames Joyce and Virginia Woolf perfected it with their mature artistry.

The ‘Oedipus Complex’ constitutes a psychological problem and this forms the nucleus of the novels, Sons and Lovers. The possessive character of Mrs. Morel was great stumbling block in the life of Paul, the hero of the piece. She was terribly dissatisfied with her married life and then subsequently. She exerted her influence on the life of Paul who could not liberate himself from the mother-fixation. Mother’s influence was so preponderant and so overweening assertive that Paul could not get a balanced emotional life. He failed to establish a becoming relationship both with Miriam and Clara. The mother-image was deterrent to the emotional life of Paul who himself was also a highly sensitive person and in his attachment with mother we notice the warmth and passion of a lover. This complex psychological problem has been treated or delineated by Lawrence with the consummate art of a poet and an unfailing observation and insight of a true psychologist. - See more at: http://ardhendude.blogspot.com/2012/12/d-h-lawrences-sons-and-lovers-as.html#sthash.EfVrlQQU.dpuf
D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers - Traditional Novel or Experimental Novel? –
D. H. Lawrence has displayed a bold originality of his genius and his consummate artistic finesse in Sons and Lovers. With his pioneering artistry, he deviated from the traditional patter of fiction and tried to break fresh grounds. It was Lawrence’s unmatched artistic fecundity or rare ingenuity which was responsible for the genesis of a completely new type of fiction, popularly acclaimed as ‘physiological novel’. His originality paved the way for the emergence of a new literary genre, unknown to nineteenth century literary circle. His sharp or distinct departure from the conventional type of fiction is evident in the theme of this novel and in the presentation of the theme.

The primary concern of the conventional 19th century novelists was with the story-telling aspect. The element of story was very much important to them. They had a great inclination for a well-knit structure and they sought to abide by the strict rule or propriety concerning the unity of time, place and action. But Lawrence was motivated by an altogether different intention. Of course, in Sons and Lovers the story element has not been relegated to a secondary position. Lawrence gave due emphasis to the story-telling aspect. But at the same time he was very much conscious of his genius which was apt to strike a new note, hitherto unexplored and untouched by the so-called conventional novelists. Lawrence did not sell himself as a traditional raconteur. Hence, story-telling was not his forte. Nevertheless, in Sons and Lovers we get quite interesting and engaging story. The novel may appositely called as an autobiographical novel. The story is cast in the mould of his own life.
But Lawrence’s fundamental credit rests on his exquisite treatment of psychology. Lawrence had a rare gift psychological insight; and he has displayed this in Sons and Lovers which constitutes his unique contribution to the domain of this new genre. A particular psychological complex, popularly termed, ‘Oedipus complex’ forms the nucleus of this novel. Lawrence has experimented to incorporate psychology into the framework of a novel. The psychological analysis is interspersed with the story. Lawrence’s experiment was instrumental for the budding forth of this distinctly different type of novel. The story revolves round the life of Paul who becomes entangled in an imbroglio due to ‘mother fixation’ and finally fails to establish a perfect union or a healthy relation with any girl of his own choice. The dominant or possessive nature of his mother. Mrs. Morel is veritable detriment to his emotional life, which becomes ruthlessly stifled by the overweening preponderance of his mother. Paul falls in love with Miriam and Clara. But his relationship with both these ladies is imperfect and inadequate. The inadequacy is due to the excessive possessiveness of his mother. He tries again and again to dissociate himself from the central pull, i.e. his mother and to establish a healthy and perfect relation with a girl of his choice. But he repeatedly recoils to the mother and submits to her. His adherence to his mother was almost unswerving. In the revelation to the psyche of Paul, his mother, Mrs. Morel and two ladies, Miriam and Clara, Lawrence has exhibited a great psychological insight. Lawrence was primarily concerned with the inner mind of his characters.

He was not so much interested in the inner and outer surface of life. It was the interior and not the exterior that attracted him. He sought to portray the ‘shimmeriness of life’ and he considered this to be the essence. Other aspects were subservient to this. He has succeeded in delineating the inner mind of his characters, with the flawless precision of a true psychologist. He has displayed rare artistic excellence in vivifying the most complex and complicated thoughts of the characters figuring in his novel. In order to suit his purpose, Lawrence has had resource to a completely new style, known as impressionistic experiment. The style of a descriptive fiction or a historical or picaresque novel was not conductive to the purpose of Lawrence. Hence, he invented a new device which enjoined a symbolic presentation of human thought and emotions. This impressionistic style helped him greatly to reveal the inner life of his characters. It helped him to transgress the bounds of language and therefore his characters have become capable of giving vent to their complicated feelings and emotions and the most subtle shades of their thought and psychological actions and reactions. The resources of the language were not sufficient and that is why he has used symbols in plethoric abundance. Thus the swing at the Willey farm highly suggestive symbol; it indicated the touch-and go relationship between Paul and Miriam. In this way Lawrence has successfully portrayed ‘the shimmeriness of life’.

Lawrence has deliberately flouted the rule concerning the unity of time. The traditional 19th century novelists maintained a chronological order of the sequence of events. A coherent plot is to be discerned in the 19th century fiction. But in Sons and Lovers the narration moves forward and backward. The logical consistency with regard to the flaw of narration in a chronological order is not there in Sons and Lovers. There is an element of lyricism or poetry in the novel and this constitutes one of the salient features of Lawrence’s art. Then again there is no hero in the conventional sense of the term. It was ‘the shimmering protoplasm’ which Lawrence sought to provide us'. J. Maynahan has observed; “He looked more closely than any other modern writer in English at the knotty fibers of human feeling and instinct which tie the ordinary men to one another, out of which the strange texture of human experience is woven, for life or for death”. Hence, the novel is more experimental than traditional and Lawrence’s genius flashed with rare originality in Sons and Lovers.
- See more at: http://ardhendude.blogspot.com/2013/04/d-h-lawrences-sons-and-lovers.html#sthash.aIMqdtuG.dpuf
But Lawrence’s fundamental credit rests on his exquisite treatment of psychology. Lawrence had a rare gift psychological insight; and he has displayed this in Sons and Lovers which constitutes his unique contribution to the domain of this new genre. A particular psychological complex, popularly termed, ‘Oedipus complex’ forms the nucleus of this novel. Lawrence has experimented to incorporate psychology into the framework of a novel. The psychological analysis is interspersed with the story. Lawrence’s experiment was instrumental for the budding forth of this distinctly different type of novel. The story revolves round the life of Paul who becomes entangled in an imbroglio due to ‘mother fixation’ and finally fails to establish a perfect union or a healthy relation with any girl of his own choice. The dominant or possessive nature of his mother. Mrs. Morel is veritable detriment to his emotional life, which becomes ruthlessly stifled by the overweening preponderance of his mother. Paul falls in love with Miriam and Clara. But his relationship with both these ladies is imperfect and inadequate. The inadequacy is due to the excessive possessiveness of his mother. He tries again and again to dissociate himself from the central pull, i.e. his mother and to establish a healthy and perfect relation with agirl of his choice. But he repeatedly recoils to the mother and submits to her. His adherence to his mother was almost unswerving. In the revelation to the psyche of Paul, his mother, Mrs. Morel and two ladies, Miriam and Clara, Lawrence has exhibited a great psychological insight. Lawrence was primarily concerned with the inner mind of his characters.

He was not so much interested in the nare and outer surface of life. It was the interior and not the exterior that attracted him. He sought to portray the ‘shimmeriness of life’ and he considered this to be the essence. Other aspects were subservient to this. He has succeeded in delineating the inner mind of his characters, with the flawless precision of a true psychologist. He has displayed rare artistic excellence in vivifying the most complex and complicated thoughts of the characters figuring in his novel. In order to suit his purpose, Lawrence has had resource to a completely new style, known as impressionistic experiment. The style of a descriptive fiction or a historical or picaresque novel was not conductive to the purpose of Lawrence. Hence, he invented a new device which enjoined a symbolic presentation of human thought and emotions. This impressionistic style helped him greatly to reveal the inner life of his characters. It helped him to transgress the bounds of language and therefore his characters have become capable of giving vent to their complicated feelings and emotions and the most subtle shades of their thought and psychological actions and reactions. The resources of the language were not sufficient and that is why he has used symbols in plethoric abundance. Thus the swing at the Willey farm highly suggestive symbol; it indicated the touch-and go relationship between Paul and Miriam. In this way Lawrence has successfully portrayed ‘the shimmeriness of life’.

Lawrence has deliberately flouted the rule concerning the unity of time. The traditional 19th century novelists maintained a chronological order of the sequence of events. A coherent plot is to be discerned in the 19th century fiction. But in Sons and Lovers the narration moves forward and backward. The logical consistency with regard to the flaw of narration in a chronological order is not there in Sons and Lovers. There is an element of lyricism or poetry in the novel and this constitutes one of the salient features of Lawrence’s art. Then again there is no hero in the conventional sense of the term. It was ‘the shimmering protoplasm’ which Lawrence sought to provide us'. J. Maynahan has observed; “He looked more closely than any other modern writer in English at the knotty fibers of human feeling and instinct which tie the ordinary men to one another, out of which the strange texture of human experience is woven, for life or for death”. Hence, the novel is more experimental than traditional and Lawrence’s genius flashed with rare originality in Sons and Lovers.
- See more at: http://ardhendude.blogspot.com/2013/04/d-h-lawrences-sons-and-lovers.html#sthash.aIMqdtuG.dpuf
D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers Examined the Oedipus complex or Mother- Fixation theory of Freud –
Sons and Lovers is the masterpiece of D.H. Lawrence which may be said the priest psychoanalytical novel in English. It is in it that for the first time a novelist has practically examined the Oedipus complex or mother fixation theory of Freud. The most striking feature of Lawrence’s characters is the resemblance they bear to their creator. Thus, the protagonist Paul morel in Sons and loves is cruelly a projection of Lawrence himself. –
The scene of the novel is set in the mining district. The story also centers on Paul Morel, a coal miner’s son whose mother has great ambitions for him. Walter Morel, the father of Paul morel is a gross and unrefined specimen of humanity. Contrastingly, Mrs. Morel is aglow with the effulgence between these two characters and the impact of this on the life and psychological plane of Paul Morel constitute the motif of the novel. The mother because of her unhappy and satisfactory conjugal life used to exert a very powerful influence upon the son and sought to posses her son fully. Though his other brothers escaped, Paul was throttled by this possessiveness of his mother. His mother wants him to move to London, England, and better himself by becoming an artist instead of a miner like his father. At the same time, she jealously prevents him from maintaining a relationship with a local girl and humiliates her husband, the family’s only breadwinner. After rejecting an offer to go to art school because of his attachment with his mother, Morel finds solace in the arms of a suffragette.

The mother-image was so pronounced that Paul could not abdicate himself from all engulfing and powerful spell. Paul failed both in uniting with Miriam or Clara in long-lasting bond of love. Despite of sincere love Paul failed as the influence of Paul’s mother precluded the efflorescence of this sacrosanct feeling. The deep-rooted depression and melancholy turned Paul in to a restless being and a complete failure in life.
- See more at: http://ardhendude.blogspot.com/2012/12/dh-lawrences-sons-and-lovers-examined.html#sthash.N8gJTmBQ.dpuf
About Sons and Lovers
Though D. H. Lawrence's third published novel, Sons and Lovers (1913) is largely autobiographical. The novel, which began as "Paul Morel," was sparked by the death of Lawrence's mother, Lydia. Lawrence reexamined his childhood, his relationship with his mother, and her psychological effect on his sexuality.
The roots of Sons and Lovers are clearly located in Lawrence's life. His childhood coal-mining town of Eastwood was changed, with a sardonic twist, to Bestwood. Walter Morel was modeled on Lawrence's hard-drinking, irresponsible collier father, Arthur. Lydia becameGertrude Morel, the intellectually stifled, unhappy mother who lives through her sons. The death by erysipelas of one of Lawrence's elder brothers, Ernest, and Lydia's grief and eventual obsession with Lawrence, seems hardly changed in the novel. (Both Ernest and his fictional counterpart, William, were engaged to London stenographers named Louisa "Gipsy" Denys.)
Filling out the cast of important characters was Jessie Chambers, a neighbor with whom Lawrence developed an intense friendship, and who would become Miriam Leiver in the novel. His mother and family disapproved of their relationship, which always seemed on the brink of romance. Nevertheless, Chambers was Lawrence's greatest literary supporter in his early years, and he frequently showed her drafts of what he was working on, including Sons and Lovers (she disliked her depiction, and it led to the dissolution of their relationship). Lawrence's future wife, Frieda von Richtofen Weekly, partially inspired the portrait of Clara Dawes, the older, sensual woman with whom Paul has an affair. To be fair, Lawrence met Frieda only in 1912 at Nottingham University College, and he started "Paul Morel" in 1910.
Considered Lawrence's first masterpiece, most critics of the day praised Sons and Lovers for its authentic treatment of industrial life and sexuality. There is evidence that Lawrence was aware of Sigmund Freud's early theories on sexuality, and Sons and Lovers deeply explores and revises of one of Freud's major theories, the Oedipus complex. (Lawrence would go on to write more works on psychoanalysis in the 1920s.) Still, the book received some criticism from those who felt the author had gone too far in his description of Paul's confused sexuality. Compared to his later works, however, such as The Rainbow, Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley's Lover, Sons and Lovers seems quite modest. * • Paul’s passions upon his mother and the mother’s upon him are quietly mutual. When he 3.1 The is together with his mother, his love spews like a emotions fountain, and his inspiration flashes like a flame between Pauland his mother • Paul quarrels with his mother this time instead of giving up directly: “Well, I can’t help it. Their jaw isn’t so almighty important, after all.”--“What can people say? --- 3.2 The that we talk together, I believe you’re jealous.” conflicts • From these words, we know the conflicts between Paul between Paul and his mother become clear.and his mother • It’s the very relationship which changes Paul’s attitude to his mother. It seems that he realizes the person is his mother who destroys his happy life. * 5. At the moment, it’s very clear for us to know Paul’s Oedipus complex and its reasons. Actually, Paul has not become a normal adult by getting over some problems like other children. That is not only determined by his mother’s abnormal maternity. The reasons are in many ways, some comes from the parents; some comes from his sisters and brothers, some even from the society, the mechanical civilization, which leads the family tragedy and distortion of personality. Now, what can be sure is: it’s impossible for the people living in a healthy family and healthy environments to have abnormal and Complex emotional problems. Surveying capitalist society, it is the very mechanical civilization which makes people feel constrained; and tense pace of life suffocates human nature.So, it is easy to know, the terrible working conditions and living states, which were brought by capitalist industrialization, is one of the main reasons for Morel’s (Lawrence’s) family tragedy. It devastated people’s healthy development on spirits. * Naven, Alastair. D.H. Lawrence: The Novels[M]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Lawrence ,D.H.. Selected Essays[M]. England: Penguin Books, 1950. http://www.sparknotes.com/sparknotes/ Bibliography http://www.copernica.co.uk/ http://www.wikipedia.org/ http://www.britannica.com/6.
Freudian Oedipus Complex in Sons and Lovers
Oedipus Complex : The idea of the Oedipus Complex is derived from the legend of King Oedipus of Thebes in ancient Greece. Oedipus unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. He begot two sons and two daughters from her. Freud, a German psychologist, used the term Oedipus Complex to signify the manifestation of the sexual desire of the child for the parent of the opposite sex i.e. sexual desire of the son for mother and conflict with father. Webster’s Dictionary explain the Oedipus Complex as :
’ ’ the unconscious tendency of a child to be attached to the parent of the opposite sex and hostile towards the other parent: its persistence in adult life results in neurotic disorders .

Thus the sons in his every infancy is sexually attached to the mother. At the same time there is corresponding hatred of the father. The son when he is excessively attached too the mother develops the Oedipus Complex and suffers from mother-fixation.
’’Sons and Lovers’’ is the first Freudian novel in the English literature. The Oedipus Complex is the centralized theme of the novel, It covers a large space and is a dominant factor in the novel.Paul is too much emotionally attached to his mother, Mrs. Morel and suffers from mother-fixation and mother image often pops up to stand between him and the objects of his love (Miriam and Clara ). The Oedipus Complex has been widely diffused over the canvas of the novel.

Lawrence and Oedipus Complex- It is a fact that Lawrence is suffered from the Oedipus Complex in his life. He was a victim of deep rooted mother fixation . His mother Lydia Lawrence had a very strong hold on him. He also love his mother passionately like a lover. The mother was dissatisfied in her marriage and took great care of the son. The Son being sickly and weak depended on her and she gave him warmth of life, inspiration and love. Owing to it he was never able to establish a happy emotional relationship with other women. He was a torture soul throughout his life and his suffering, his observation reflected in ’’ Sons and Lovers’’

Oedipus Complex in ’’Sons and Lovers " -

William and his Mother - In the novel the unhappy married life of Lawrence’ s parents is reflected in the ill-matched and unhappy marriage between Walter Morel, a miner and Gertrude Morel, an educated and cultured lady. After the birth of the first son William, Mrs. Morel begins to alienate and hate her husband. As William grows up he also begins to hate his father at the instance of his mother. Mrs. Morel is frustrated in her marriage and seeks emotional fulfillment in the son William. William is handsome and a number of girls come to see him. The mother is possessive and does not want her son to make friendship with girls. She become jealous of them. She cannot tolerate William’ s girlfriend Gyp and criticizes her. William is torn between his attachment for his mother and love for his beloved.

Paul and his Mother - After Williams’ s death his place is taken by the second son, Paul wjo has already taken his father’s place in the mother’s heart. The relationship between Paul and his mother runs throughout the novel. All other relationships are brought into contact with it and are subordinate to it. It is the central expression of the theme of the novel. Everything is ultimately referred to this mother-son relationship.

Paul and his Father: The Oedipus complex leads to the envy of the father. Mrs. Morel mercilessly casts off her husband. The mother encourages her son to hate his father. Paul looks upon his father as his rival in his monopoly over his mother’s love. As a result, there develops a feeling of hatred and hostility between father and the son.

Paul, Miriam and Clara : Paul’s unhealthy and abnormal relationship with his mother results in his failure to establish normal sexual and emotional relationship with other women. He fails in his relationship with Miriam and Clara mainly because of his love for his mother. The mother-fixation in him is so strong that he cannot give himself freely and fully to Miriam. The Oedipus Complex in him has weakened him emotionally. He is glued to his mother spiritually and emotionally, if not sexually. Paul always seeks mother image in his woman. Clara is simply rejected because he fails to find in her the mother-image. Miriam is only spiritual substitute of the mother. So being dissatisfied with both Miriam and Clara, he clings on to his mother.

Mrs. Morel,’’ You haven’t met the right woman.’’

Paul replies,’’ And I shall never meet the right woman while you live.’ ’

Paul stands in the web of the Freudian psychoanalysis as a fly and the mother, Mrs. Morel plays a spider, always praying upon him. Her affection is just a mask. There are sinister forces underneath and these are the domain of the Oedipus Complex. Even in the death of the mother there is no release for Paul. He will be haunted by her soul for ever. In the end Paul severs his connection both with Miriam and Clara and becomes indifferent to life and death alike. Thus the Oedipus Complex in the guise of mother-fixation is responsible for the other tragedy of Paul

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