In Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers, love has been treated in an unusual manner than the novelists of earlier phases who also practiced the matter of love to a great extent.In Lawrence’s treatment of love, there is a clash between emotion and intellect – there is an inevitable contretemps between man’s passion and his intellect. The emotional crisis finds no consolation – the emotional disease is one which admits no intellectual care. The modern world seems to Lawrence to have corrupted man’s emotional life; the world is now set up over the furnace of materialism, devoid of passion, feeling, love and emotion. Lawrence was influenced by Sigmund Freud and it has been rightly established by Freud and his followers that neurosis and other signs of abnormality are a result of repressed sex instincts. It became established that man’s intellectual communications are actually the realization of his emotional needs.
In Sons and Lovers, love and sex are almost identical, one seems impossible without the other and love and sex are two basic themes but the conflict between emotion and intellect serves the main purpose of the novel. Walter Morel and Gertrude Morel come closer by the urge of their instinctive forces, forces that arise from the unconscious mind and shape human activities. Walter Morel is a miner and represents the common people, devoid of intellectual content, full of physical life, in touch with the earth and rejoicing in the life of nature. In contrast to him, Gertrud Morel is proud of her middle-class inheritance and does not condense to mix with the uneducated women of the place. She fails to see any vitality in the instinctive life of Morel and strives hard to reform him. Her desires to prove herself a woman intellectually superior and of refined taste and finer sensibility wrecks her married life. The passion of Walter Morel comes into sharp conflict with the intellectual superiority of Mrs. Morel and thus the class of emotion and intellect throws them to two opposite distant poles. They are two opposites who are brought together as a result of their hasty decisions taken at the Christmas party, where they met for the first time.
Paul Morel, a hypersensitive intellectual young son of Mr. and Mrs. Morel also falls in an emotional crisis. Paul Morel has become neurotic and suffers from fits of depression for the uncongenial atmosphere and anguishing circumstances of a conflicting relationship with his parents. There is a hint of Oedipus complex between the relation of Paul and his mother; Paul’s mother over possesses Paul and as a result, Paul falls to develop his normal and natural love relations with other two girls. Paul is unable to strike an adequate relationship with Miriam due to the intense struggle between Miriam and Mrs. Morel to possess Paul and partly due to Paul’s inner intellectual conflict resulting from his utter need of Miriam and his over-dependence on his mother.
Clara Dawes is another girl who makes a physical relationship with Paul and to satisfy his sexual urge but she cannot satisfy Paul’s soul. The relationship between Paul and Clara does not last long due to the conflict of Paul’s hypersensitive introvert and his importunate physical desires. Paul wanted to liberate him from the bondage as he was chained and bestowed – he wanted to free his normal passion but failed at last. He turns his life into a glue and frustration.
D. H Lawrence wrote Sons and Lovers in an effort to resolve his deep emotional crisis by projecting it in fiction and thereby to see it more clearly and more acutely. In this novel the eldest son of Morels, William Morel feels the vacuum of emotional crisis.He also falls a victim to his mother’s claustrophobic love and it is a painful realization to him that his life is rooted in his mother and he cannot wrench himself away from her. William Morel falls in love with Gyp. William Morel falls in love with Gyp and really wants to marry her, but since the mother does not approve of her he is foolish enough to let go of her. He is torn between his hankering and adult sexual relationship and little boy relationship with his mother.
So, the love and tension between intellect and emotion among the principal characters constitute the plot of the novel. D. H Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers shows his attitude of love or sex and their complexities in the material society during the inter-war and after-war periods.
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