Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sons and Lovers - Prongs 12th Review

'To be rid of our individuality, which is our will, which is our effort—to live effortless, a kind of curious sleep—that is very beautiful...'
Sons and Lovers
D. H. Lawrence

As I am currently working my way down the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 books, I knew that soon or later it meant I had to tackle a work by D. H. Lawrence. As I had never heard rave reviews about his writing before, I will be honest in saying that I was not thrilled when I hit him on the list. Sons and Lovers was the first work I have read by D. H. Lawrence. It is his 3rd novel and is considered to be by most to be the novel that really pushed Lawrence into the literary lime light. The work was published in 1913 and for many, is considered to be autobiographical in nature. Sons and Lovers is a work that centers on the Morel’s; a middle class family trying to make ends meet in the early 1900’s. The children and the father work together much like a wheel, revolving completely and entirely around the love they feel for their mother.

The first half of the novel focuses aptly on the ‘Sons’, which are the backbone of the family unit. With a drunkard of a father, it is left to the three sons of the Morel family to provide and care for their mother in many ways that her inept husband never could. In opening, Ms. Morel finds herself becoming mentally and emotionally drawn to her middle son Paul, the son who was her intellectual and emotional match in every way. Paul, in response unconsciously develop what is one day known to many as an ‘oedipal’ complex, and as time progresses finds himself unable to break away from the psychological ties that hold him to his mother.
He leaned with his back against the side of the chimney-piece, his hands in his pockets. He was a big, raw-boned man, who looked as if he would go to the world’s end if he wanted to. But she saw the despair on his face.
This type of extreme attachment between Paul and his mother is what makes the second part of the book so intriguing and heartbreaking. Mrs. Morel’s son becomes a man and with that starts to feel unhinged by the fact that he cannot truly give his love to another woman, for a reason that he cannot seem to understand. Paul falls as deeply as he can in love with a wide-eyes girl named Miriam, but cannot resolve himself to let her possesses him fully. He also has a heated, passionate affair with a married woman; but both relations only satisfy him physically, and Paul can never truly find peace with another woman.
‘He had come back to his mother. Hers was the strongest tie in his life. When he thought round, Miriam shrank away. There was a vague, unreal feel about her. An nobody else mattered. There was one place in the world that stood solid and did not melt into unreality: the place where his mother was. Everybody else could grow shadowy, almost non-existent to him, but she could not. It was as if the pivot and pole of his life, from which he could not escape was his mother.’
And in some ways, who can blame him? If your soul is married to someone, in the ways that a body can never be… how could you expect to ever be at peace with another lover? Freud would have a field day with this one, but it is hard in the end not to sympathizes with the love that Paul can never realize.

While D. H. Lawrence does spin a beautiful yet heart sick tale of an impossible love, and a doomed man, he makes the time go by quickly with his beautiful prose and in-depth look into the psyche of the English middle-class, something that was groundbreaking for his time period. Although I was never rushing to pick up this book, it did go fast during the times that I sat down with it and has made me realize that I might have been a bit quick on judging ole D.H.

Make sure to check out in the next few days by reviews of Cat's Cradle, The Bell Jar and A Confederacy of Dunces!! Ah so much reading how exciting. As well, don't forget out to check out all the new quotes!! Have a wonderful day Marauders.


  1. hey, good review and im following you on twitter! (opinionatedme12)

  2. Sounds good. I may just have to check it out.=]

  3. @ dannie. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the follow!

    @Purple. Yea it is a pretty interesting book. Just be ready to really sit down with it as it is a bit of a clunker.

  4. Great review! I like DH Lawrence's writing and the few books of his I have read. His prose is beautiful as you said and he is good at getting at the mindset and personality of the types of individuals his characters are modeled after.

    You have some wonderful books coming up. I'm looking forward to hear what you think of "Confederacy of Dunces". I know many people who have read that book and the opinions are all over the place. One things for sure, there are few books like it!
    And the The Bell Jar and Cat's Cradle...wow...
    I think I need to check out that list!
    Happy Reading!

  5. MAybe it's just me but I think you made a good choice in picking up Sons and Lovers over DH Lawrence's other work, Lady Chatterly's Lover. Sons and Lover has more intrigue, more heart and poignant in ways Lawrence's other works can never be.

  6. I gave you an award!


  7. I admire you for being so devoted to reading these types of books ... sounds like this was not so bad after all ... but it sounds really sad and a bit messed up.

  8. and that reminds me I never read Lawrence... that list keeps getting longer!

  9. @ Amy Thanks so much I am glad that you enjoyed it. I loved his prose and ultimitally that is what really saved the story for me because it was at times a bit much. I am excited to read more by him now. Yes make sure to check back for the reviews. I am particuarly excited to finish my Cat's Cradle review because that book was just amazing. I will save the gushing for the post though!

    @Soma Glad to hear you think I made the right decision. I did a bit of research before hand and it seemed like the most popular/comprehensive of his work so I am glad I got off to a good start with him.

    @ Jenners Thanks so much! We really are dedicated to writing reviews that pertain to adult/classic literature at least for the tie being. Once we feel like we are completly spend on all the classics, we would like to try and to sort through all the modern literature to find the next 'D.H. Lawrence' or 'Nabkov'. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Young Haha yea it def is something you have to sit down and really work with but it is a nice story to tackle.

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