Book review: Sons and lovers by D.H. Lawrence
December 31, 2007
Sons and lovers is a partly autobiographical novel. It tells the story of Paul Morel (a pseudonym for the author himself) who comes from a poor family in rural England.
Paul’s father was a miner and his mother was a housewife. His father was a drunk who slapped his wife around and ill-treated his children. Paul’s mother put up with his drunkenness for her children’s sake. The two central themes of this book are his mother’s suffering and Paul’s inability to have a normal relationship with a woman.
As the title of the book implies Lawrence had an abnormal relationship with his mother; abnormal to such an extent that he thought of her as a “lover”. She had immense influence over him; a slight hint of disapproval was enough for him to break off a relationship. Looking at the plural form of the title it’s obvious that Lawrence thought that his mother ruined his older brother’s love life as well. This could have very well have been wishful thinking on Lawrence’s part – the abnormality his older brother’s showed was limited to getting engaged to a frivolous and foolish girl.
Lawrence is famous for the explicit nature of his writings. I read through the book expecting the next page to hold something pornographic in nature. Sadly Sons and lovers doesn’t live up to Lawrence’s infamy. In fact the book is quite prudish (or “constrained” as Wikipedia puts it).