D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers
D. H. Lawrence is considered one of the Twentieth Century's greatest and most visionary English novelists. He was born in 1885 in Eastwood, a mining community in Nottinghamshire, England (DeMott iii). His father was an uneducated miner and his mother had been a schoolteacher before she married. According to England's rigid class system, his mother's marriage to his father was considered a step down, since she came from a well-educated middle-class family. Thus the vast differences between his parents was cause for "the fabric of his parents' marriage [to be] ripped by bitterness, violence and hate" (DeMott vii).
Lawrence's first great novel, Sons and Lovers, is clearly autobiographical: "there's no denying the closeness of the resemblance between Paul Morel's life and that of his creator" (DeMott vii). The novel tells the story of Gertrude Morel, a mother whose possessive love for her sons hinders their ability to establish fulfilling relationships with other women. Lawrence himself had an unusually close attachment to his mother. The novel also depicts the working class of England at the turn of the century, when industrialism was rearing its ugly head and was creeping upon the English countryside. Set in a town similar to the one where he was born, Sons and Lovers gives a detailed and realistic portrayal of the hardships and conflicts of the Morels, a mining family.
Gertrude Morel, the character based on Lawrence's mother, has married below her station; she is a religious woman who is serious and believes in hard work and adherence to a strict code of morals (3). She is unhappy and disillusioned with the lower-class mining-family lifestyle and is "sick of it, the struggle with poverty and ugliness and meanness" (5). But she is resolved to stay in her unhappy marriage "and all the time ... thinking how to make the most of what she had, for the children's sake" (6). She met Walter Morel at the age of...
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