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Sons and Lover

1- Manson was frank and a man of his word with a high sense of honour:
A) He rebuffed Miss Page when she said that Dr. Denny was shameful man and
refused to cut off his relations with Denny.
B) A small boy named Joe had a catching disease. He ordered his mother his
mother to keep his brother home from school. The mother said that Miss
Barlow (Christine), the school mistress, said that there was no need to keep him
at home. He went to her at school and openly told her that she was breaking
the law by allowing that boy to come to school. He told her that he could report
C) He was invited to become an official doctor to the Mining Company at
Drineffy, but he refused the offer because he did not consider it fair to Dr. Page
to accept.
D) Miss Page insulted him and accused him of trying to take over Dr. Page's
practice. He told her that unless she apologized within two minutes he would
bring an action against her in a court of law. When she apologized he told her
frankly that he became so tired of her and he gave her a month's notice.
E) He refused to give certificates to the miners for no reason. He refused to give
Chenkin a certificate although his son was a remarkable member of the
F) He persuaded the doctors at Aberalaw not to pay part of their salaries to
Llewellyn, their Big Chief. He met Llewellyn and told him that they intended to
refuse to pay.
G) At Aberalaw, he was ordered to attend to an inquiry to be held by the-
committee. The accusation against him was that he broke the law by making
experiments on animals without permission. Chenkin also accused him of not
giving medicines. He defended himself by saying that those tests with animals
saved men’s-lives. He showed the committee a letter from a university in
Scotland, offering him another medical degree in recognition of his coal dust
discoveries. The committee decided to ask him to remain but he gave a month's
2- Why was Christine a model wife?
A) She was Manson’s faithful wife. She was very happy with Manson at Aberalaw.
She was the source of his inspiration and success. She was religious. She used to
read the bible when she was unhappy. She felt that she was no match for Andrew
when he became rich. She was jealous of Mrs. Lawrence and she felt more sorry
for Andrew than herself. She devoted herself to her housework. She was very
sorry in London because she felt that Andrew was sacrificing all his beliefs simply
to make money.
b) Money seemed the only thing that mattered to him. She told him that he was
not the Andrew Manson whom she married- She always advised him not to lose
his self-respect. She began to lose faith in herself; to ask herself if she was really
the right wife for Andrew.
C) When Andrew came to his sense and realized that he had deviated from the
right path, he knelt at her feet and cried asking for her pardon. Andrew was
beginning to correct his mistakes.
D) Her death gave a rare example of her sincerity and love for her husband. She
left the house quickly to buy Andrew some cheese but a bus ran over her. She
was carried to Andrew and in her hand was the parcel of cheese which she had
for her Andrew.
3- Which character in the story do you like least?
The character I like least is Ivory.
A) He was a bad doctor. He always tried to make his patients think that his
treatments were expensive although they really cheap.
B) He was tricky. He persuaded a patient to have a course of twelve treatments.
He told him that the usual charge for that was fifty guineas, but he would
reduce the price to thirty-five pounds if he paid him in advance. The patient
agreed and gave him a cheap immediately.
C) Andrew recommended Ivory to operate on Vidler’s stomach. Ivory was a very
bad surgeon and he did the operation very badly. Vidler died. Manson told
Ivory that he had killed poor man.
D) When Ivory heard from Hamson that Manson had taken Mary from the
Victoria Hospital to send her to Stillman to operate on her lung, he thought
that it was his golden chance to avenge himself on Manson. He went to Dr.
Gadspy who hated Manson. Gadspy reported the matter personally to the
General Medical Council. Gadspy wanted Manson to be struck off. The Council
held an inquiry but Manson defended himself and the Council decided to allow
Manson to continue to practice in medicine.

4- Walter Morel:
Walter is twenty-seven when Gertrude meets him for the first time, he
was well set-up, erect and very smart. He had wavy black hair that shone again,
and a vigorous black beard that never been shaved, his cheeks were ruddy, and
his red moist mouth was noticeable because he laughed so often and so
He dances well, as if it were natural and joyous in him to dance. He is very
polite and pleasant with Gertrude. He also has overflowing humor and speaks in
a typical dialect.
Walter and Gertrude marry each other in the romantic heat of the moment
without realizing that they are too unlike each other to achieve marital bliss.
Their Marital antagonism begins with the discovery of Walter's lies about
owning the house and about the unpaid furniture bills. And since he is utterly
incapable of refinement and sophistication, she gradually becomes indifferent
to him. This undermines Walter Morel’s manhood and she suffers pitiable
After the birth of William, Mrs. Morel seeks exclusive consolation in him
and gradually casts away Walter morel. He had virtually abstained from drinks
after his marriage, but now he resumes his drinking bouts and often returns
home drunk. He also becomes peevish and ill-tempered. There are frequent
quarrels between him and his wife; on other occasion, Walter flings a drawer at
her, which hits her on the brow.
She not only looks down upon her husband herself but also transfers her
disdain to the children. Since she defies him in the presence of the children,
they develop a peculiar aversion for their father. He is virtually shut out from all
family affairs.
Walter Morel may be crude and unrefined in his manners, but he is
essentially noble at heart, he feels quite concerned when Mrs. Morel is ill and
on the years of death.
Walter Morel is the primitive man who lives by instinct. His response to life is
instinctive, hence natural.

Paul is the third child of Gertrude and Walter Morel. The marriage of his
parents has already degenerated into a series of unending quarrel before he is
born. The very thought of another child coming makes her (the mother)
wretched. And when the child is born, its peculiarly knitted brows and heavy eyes
appear as if it were trying to understand something that is ‘pain’.
Paul is unusually dependent on his mother’s care, thus he forms a very deep
attachment to his mother. As he witnesses the frequent quarrels between his
parents, he unwittingly sides with his mother, he shares his mother’s sufferings
day after day. He is filled with horror and disgust to discover that his mother has
beaten by his father.
This uncongenial domestic atmosphere has a threefold effect on Paul’s mind.
Firstly, he often falls into fits of depression. At times he cries without any
specific reason.
Secondly, he develops an abiding hatred for his father. The very sight of his
father is an irritant to him. When he wins a prize for the first time, he comes home
running to tell his mother, but when she asks him to show the prize to his father,
he just stands reluctantly. He would like to forfeit his prize rather than show it to
his father.
Thirdly, it creates as unnatural bond of inter-independence between Paul
and his mother. And this leads to further complications in his emotional life.
In addition to being a good artist, Paul has inherited from his mother some
kind of intellectualism. They also read together and enjoy their favourite poems
and authors. Paul’s love of books is manifestation of his intense desire to live on
a higher plane of being.
Mrs. Morel’s is the most powerful and abiding single influence on Paul’s life.
His early life as also his development in youth, is conditioned by his mother’s love
for him. Initially their relationship derives its strength from their inter-
dependence on each other. Paul looks to her for protection and comfort; and
Mrs. Morel looks to him for emotional fulfilment. Their relationship appears a
very heart-warming affair. Paul shares his misery and is pleased to do something
for her.

Paul meets Miriam when they are still quite young. Miriam is Romantic,
religious, possessive and sexually inhibited. The two meet frequently in the Willey
farm, and gradually develop a liking for each other. In Miriam’s company, Paul
gains insight. And Miriam restlessly waits for Paul to share her experience with
him. But their relationship grows on a very abstract plain.

Miriam, spiritual and inhibited, denies the man in Paul; and Paul cannot
arouse in her any sexual passion. In the second phase of their relationship, Paul
initiates Miriam into sexual life. But their experience is highly dissatisfying to both
of them. Miriam lies before him like a creature awaiting immolation, which makes
Paul wish he were dead, or at least sexless, thus, in spite of the fact that they
impart unusual intensity to their relationship, it gradually disintegrates till they
decide to break off.
If Mariam is too spiritual in her outlook, Clara is all fire and passion, she
suffers from no complexes and admits no restraints. Her body exudes sexuality.
Paul is just swept off by her physical charm. His relationship with Clara gives him
extreme physical satisfaction. For a while, he appears to have attained perfect
bliss. But his relationship is too superficial to be lasting.
The closing pages of the novel, Paul is a broken and disintegrated man. Mrs.
Morel is dead. With Miriam, he has broken off. Clara has been restored to her
husband. He is left a dialect with no one to guide his faltering step, no one to
stabilize him. He is totally enveloped by an accumulated sense of emptiness and
The theme of the Man-Woman relationship

Lawrence conceives life as a series of relationships between man and his

circumambient universe. He is always concerned with "the relationship of self to
other selves". This is the basic theme in Lawrence's literary output as a whole: a
developing deep into the intermingled relationships of his characters. And his
greatness as a novelist depends on the way in which he projects his penetrating
insights into the possibilities of love in modern civilization.
Lawrence views human relationships primarily "in terms of conflict out of
which a synthesis is possible but by no means inevitable". His main objective is to
reach the root of this conflict, to realize why it originates, what exasperates it,
and how it can be effectively solved. So, he is an arduous advocate of human
nature, and that is why he is considered as one of the most outstanding authors
of the psychological novel.
Many critics have referred to the basic importance of Lawrence's depiction of
conflict in the man-woman relationship. In his first book on Lawrence, Stephen
Potter thinks that despite the fact that Lawrence's first essay was called "The
Crown", his subject is not really the crown, the prize, but the antagonists who are
fighting for it. Graham Hough also finds that Lawrence has most uncomfortably
brought out the element of hate that is inextricably entwined with a normal love.
Anthony Beal considers it to be axiomatic that no Lawrence marriages should be
free from strife- and strife does not mean nagging and petty irritations, but a
battle of wills.
Lawrence's fiction often deals with people escaping the domination of other
people's will. He is at his best in portraying family relationships between man and
women. He also writes well about large-scale social relationships in which people
are controlled by the conscious wills of those placed over them.
In Sons and Lovers Paul tries to break away from the domination of his
mother, whose increasing the attachment to him and her initiative in their
romance constitute a large part of the action. But Paul, in his attempt to escape
his mother's dominance, finds himself entangled with Mariam who cannot love
Paul without trying to absorb him; she is very much like his mother. That is why
Mrs. Morel's feverish struggle against Miriam inevitable. Miriam wants to control
Paul's life, he will not submit to her domination. In spite of his instability by the
end of the novel, Paul begins to get away from the emotional and psychic control
of the wills of two powerful women who try to enslave him.
The problem of right relationship between man and woman is one of
Lawrence's basic interests. He attempts to determine the basis of an abiding
relation between the sexes. He has tackled this problem in a number of his novels
and short stories. It is one of the fundamental themes which dominate his
writings. In Sons and Lovers, for example, Mrs. Morel, fails to hold up herself and
her husband in a state of balance. That is because she looks down upon him, "he
is just a miner". There is a rift between the husband with his coarse vitality and
the wife with her genteel pretensions. Morel's vitality, by which she was
originality fascinated, fails to keep her satisfied any more. She believes that her
essential task is to recreate him in accordance with her notion of respectability.
She attempts to destroy his identity in order to create him anew, to make him
nobler than he is. As a result, he became alienated. She now depends upon her
sons, in fact, she makes husband substitutes of them. They are made men before
their time. They are asked to give their mother what they should have given to
girls of their own choice. This is the core and crux of the unhealthy y relationship
with their mother.
Q.1. Bring out the autobiographical element in “Sons and Lovers”.
Sons and Lovers is an autobiographical novel, Lawrence was a tortured soul
for the full forty-five years of his life. Being highly sensitive, he reacted sharply,
suffered intensely.
The home atmosphere was embittered by their endless bickerings. Repelled
by the coarse brutality of his father, Lawrence developed deep attachment with
his mother. She too, frustrated in her marriage, leaned heavily on her children,
for emotional fulfilment. Gradually, there grew an unhealthy inter-dependence
between Lawrence and his mother, that rendered him unfit to establish healthy
emotional relationship with women. The result was Sons and Lovers. The major
characters of this novel are closely modelled after their originals; major events
have been transcribed straight from their life. Thus there is no doubt about the
autobiographical content of Sons and Lovers. (Comment)
Like Gertrude Morel, Lawrence's mother Lydia belonged to a middle class
family. She met Arthur Lawrence at a party at Nottingham and was attracted by
"his gallant manner and good spirits". It was an endless battle between Lydia and
Arthur. Lydia often infuriated her husband by deliberately talking of poetry and
religion, subjects in which he could not participate, and he took his revenge by
behaving coarsely at a party or by coming home drunk when money was badly
needed' Mrs Lawrence, after her disillusionment in marriage, turned to her sons,
making husband substitutes of them. As in the novel, Arthur (William) was her
favorite, and she had pinned all hopes of respectable future life on him. But
unfortunately Arthur died in London at a very young age, and in order to fill the
emotional void created by his death, she turned to David (Paul). Like Paul, David
was sickly and delicate. Lawrence met Jessie chambers in 1901. In the novel, she
has been presented as Miriam. Most of the middle third of the novel dealing with
Paul-Miriam relationship was written directly under her supervision and from the
notes supplied by her. Jessie was dreamy girl; she was a year younger than
Lawrence. Clara of course, does not have any one original in real life. In the case
of Clara, Lawrence drew inspiration from three different women.
Not only did the characters resembling Paul, Miriam, Walter and Gertrude
exist in real life but also the places and the incidents that took place. Bestwood
in the novel is actually Eastwood, the village where Lawrence was born. He had
spent here most of his childhood and had observed the mining activity carried on
near the village.
To conclude, we may say that Sons and Lovers should be read not as an
autobiography but as a novel that uses autobiographical material to put forward
a certain attitude to life, an attitude that the novelist thinks will promote human
Citadel Questions
1. Describe the medical system at Drineffy?
a) The mining company had three doctors on its lists.
b) Each doctor of the three employed a younger doctor to help him.
c) Each miner chose one of the three to see him in times of illness.
d) the company paid part of the miner’s wages each week to the doctor whom he
had chosen.
e) There was no hospital and the place was so unhealthy that typhoid fever
spread through drinking and bad water.

5. Give, three examples to prove that Dr Manson did important work at

a) He worked for Dr. Page who was paralyzed. Typhoid fever was spreading.
Andrew worked hard to cure his fever cases. He ordered his patients to drink only
boiled water and they quickly began to get better.
b) Dr Bramwell sent for-Manson to sign the report .that Emlyn was as they would
have to send him to the asylum. Andrew examined Emlyn, who showed all the
sighs of madness. Andrew examined Emlyn's swollen ' face and discovered that
Emlyn was not mad but he was suffering from a disease in his throat.
c) He looked after Mrs. Morgan when she gave birth. The child was born lifeless
and his mother was nearly dead. It was a long and different birth. (He saved the
mother and the child on the verge of dead

6. Give five examples to show that Manson was a very skillful doctor at
A) He refused to give the miners certificates unless they were really ill, although
the miners were angry and asked for their medical cards.
B) Thomas Evans, a miner, spilled boiling water over his left arm. The District
Nurse had put oil on the burn. He ordered the nurse not to use oil on a bum. The
nurse refused to obey his orders. Evan's wife wont to Manson's surgery that same
evening and had her husband's card back.
C) A miner named Bevan was buried under coal. It was a good chance to test
Manson’s skill. Bevan’s left arm was juried under a heavy heap of coal. He
operated on Bevan very difficult conditions and cut the arm successfully.
D) By his use of modern medicines, Manson once prevented a serious disease
from spreading in his district although the rest of the town suffered badly
E) He had a great deal of important information about the effect of coal dust on
the miners’ lungs. He made some extremely successful experiments which proved
all his beliefs.
10. How was Manson critical of the Medical Profession?
A) In London, the General Medical Council decided to hold an inquiry to strike
him off. The charge was that he took away Mary Boland from the Victoria Chest
Hospital, where she was in the care of Dr. Thoroughgood. He took her to a health
center run by a man named Stillman who was a foreigner and a person not
qualified in medicine.
b) Mansion said before the Council that the doctors were not trained properly.
Doctors learnt only the basis of medicine at the medical schools. When he
qualified, he was a danger to society. He only knew the names of a few diseases.
Doctors were too busy to study. The whole system was rotten. Doctors gave
bottles of colored water. Many doctors made fortunes from their patients by
giving them medicines and expensive treatments that were useless. It was not
honest. He that Stillman had done more for medicine than thousands of men
with degrees.
Sons and Lovers Questions
Q.9. “The growing point of the book is the psychological adventurousness the
resolute beginning of an exploration into the tangled relations between men
and women.” Examine this judgment of “Sons and Lovers”.
In Sons and Lovers, Mrs. Morel fails to maintain herself and her husband in
a state of balance. Her middle class values make her contemptuous of her
husband. Walter's vitality and zest for life fail to keep her satisfied for long. She
tries to reform him according to her own notion of respectability, and thus
threatens his identity. Walter, who at one time is full of "colour and animation”,
soon begins to lose the natural exuberance of his spirits. He is ruthlessly driven
on to a path of disintegration and dissipation.
The mutual incompatibility of Mrs. Morel and her husband not only
destroys the prospects of their personal happiness but also violates the lives,
even of their children. They come to despise their father and develop an
unhealthy attachment with their mother. Mrs. Morel too, makes husband
substitutes of her sons. She is jealous of the girls that come to see William. She
makes no attempt to hide her hostility towards Gyp, the girl with whom William
gets infatuated in London. Her open condemnation of Gyp makes William feel
guilty of his love. He suffers from an acute mental conflict, but this is a conflict
that cannot be resolved. He gets weary of the world and ultimately dies.
Paul had no better fate than William. He gets friendly with Miriam. But Miriam
is as desirous of having a complete hold as his mother. She too, fails to achieve
polarization. Paul too, seeks both intellectual inspiration and physical
gratification from Miriam, but, on account of the strong mother-pull, is incapable
of arousing Miriam. Paul has to bear the burden of his mother's open hostility to
Miriam. The very sight of Miriam makes Mrs. Morel red hot with jealousy. Mrs.
Morel gradually moves towards her death. Paul makes a fresh attempt to seek
satisfaction in Clara while Miriam sulks in silence.
Clara makes no demands to exercise a hold on Paul's soul. She can satisfy his
passion without threatening his identity. She offers no rivalry to Mrs. Morel. For
a while Paul and Clara appear to be perfectly happy together. But even this
happiness proves to be deceptive. The significance of Sons and Lovers lies in the
investigation of the causes that destroy the married life of the Morel's as well as
the exploration of the three relationships in which Paul is involved.
Q.18, "Lawrence’s positive achievement in ‘Sons and Lovers' is the
communication of a sense of life as it is lived ….. in the shifts of Judgment and
attitude which are inevitable in any live human relation- ship." Explain and
Sons and Lovers, Lawrence has captured the moment with all its quivering,
pulsating. Lawrence was never interested in the mere externals of life. He goes
deep into the emotional life of his characters. The mere outward form is a dead
crust; it is not life; rather it often hides the reality of life. He knows that a live
human, relationship is not n constant phenomenon; it is ever-changing, ever-
renewing itself. So, in order to communicate the sense of life as it is really lived,
Lawrence tries to trace the shifts of judgment and attitude which are inevitable
in any live human relationship. The first shift in attitude which affects the life of
all the major characters is to be seen in Mrs. Morel. She had been fascinated by
the colour and animation cl the handsome Walter Morel. But she is disillusioned
after her marriage. He has no interest in intellectual subjects like philosophy and
politics. His manners are also rather crude. The middle class ambitions of Mrs.
Morel are frustrated, and she gradually develops some sort of aversion for him.
The Paul-Miriam relationship is also characterized by a constant shifting of
judgment and attitude. Miriam loves Paul for his learning, for his perception, for
his artistic faculties, and she inspires him in his work. So he craves to be with her.
When the two are together in the in the midst of beautiful scenes of nature, so
complete is I heir emotional-harmony together, that they may be said to have
experienced spiritual communion. But then immediately following this
communion are the moments when Paul almost hates Miriam. He often hates her
for her. He gets impatient with her at her tendency to pull the heart out of things;
he looks at her as she lies in the bed. He is fascinated by the beauty of her body.
But then she lifts her hands in a little, pleading movement, and that is the
moment when a great change takes place. He looks at her, at her body, at die
pleading movement of her hands, and his blood falls back. He wishes he were
sexless or dead. And he begins to hate her. He hates her for taking all and giving
nothing. He leaves her and yet longs to be back to her. After having physical
relations with her, he decides that they cannot continue .their relationship and
he expresses a desire to break off. Paul – Clara relations hip is mark e d with a
similar shift in judgment and attitude. Paul is attracted by Clara's physical, beauty.
He feels tense with passion in her company. She gives him that physical
satisfaction Which Mariam could not. Once or twice they experience perfect
happiness together when they have the consummation of their love in a grove or
on the bank of the river. But soon the two tire of each other. Clara looks into the
eyes of Paul and finds there ‘a sort of detached criticism of herself. She observes
that he is becoming cold towards her, and her woman’s soul hardens against him.
Paul also realizes that Clara cannot keep his soul steady.
He concludes that the happiness he has just got is ‘something that
happened because of her, but it was not her’. It should be realized that such
shifts in attitude are not irrational. They show the novelist’s insight rather than
his capriciousness. He does not arbitrarily shuffle the attitudes of his characters.
He probes deep into their subconscious mind and discovers the real motives
hidden therein. This is how he makes us aware of the reality of life.
Q.21 "The damaging influence of the mother’s love upon the life of the son."
Does it adequately describe the theme of ‘Sons and Lovers’?
If we sum up the theme of Sons and Lovers as ‘the damaging influence of the
mother's love upon the life of the son’, we are not far away from the truth. Mrs.
Morel’s love for Paul is so possessive, that it leaves him utterly unfit for striking
healthy and wholesome sexual relationships with other women.
Gertrude is a moral and religious woman coming of an average middle class
family but endowed with a highly developed sense of superiority on account of
her intellectual taste. At twenty-one, she is attracted towards a warm, sensuous
and indulgent miner, Walter Morel, with a rich, ringing laugh and a red, moist
mouth. They have a very brief happy married life after which Mrs. Morel gradually
drifts away from her husband. She feels disgusted with Walter Morel’s habitual
drunkenness. The feeble bond of passion snaps and they begin to be alienated
from each other. Mrs. Morel turns to her sons for her emotional fulfilment. For a
while it is the eldest son William, who is taken as a husband substitute, but
William soon dies, leaving it to the second son Paul to bring consolation to his
mother. The novel chiefly traces the unhealthy influence of Mrs. Morel on Paul’s
Paul, to begin with, is an unwelcome child, for Mrs. Morel never wanted
him to be born. But soon he gets close to her and pulls at her heart. And she
decides to love it passionately, to ‘carry it in her love. And this is exactly what
happens. As Paul grows up, he sticks to his mother and trots after her like her
shadow. The two begin to share lives and Mrs. Morel’s grip on his soul is tightened
up. Soon, like his elder brother William earlier, he is accepted as a husband
In his adolescent years, even after Paul meets Miriam and falls in love with
her, he continues treating his mother like his beloved. On their visit to
Nottingham, he chats with his mother and she is gay like a ‘sweetheart’. During a
visit to the Leivers Farm, they enjoy the sight of the beautiful flowers and are ‘in
ecstasy together’.
But this almost perverse relationship or Paul with mother adversely affects
his relationships with other women. Miriam and Paul are genuinely interested in
each other. Miriam is gifted with an aesthetic sensibility and she has the capability
of inspiring the artist in Paul. But Paul is so strongly glued to his mother that he
cannot give himself freely to Miriam. His mother is so jealous of Miriam that she
can hardly stand her. And Paul, quite aware of his mother’s attitude towards
Miriam feels very measy in her company. This exerts a great strain on his mind.
How damaging is Mrs. Morel’s influence on Paul can be judged from his
attitude towards a physical touch with their bodies. He does not like Miriam s
touching him. If Miriam ever slips her arm into Paul’s, he resents it and hurriedly
withdraws his arm. He even feels that the place where she touched is hot with
friction. And when he grows up, quite often he fondles her, strokes her face and
kisser her on the forehead.
We could say that Paul’s relationship with Miriam fails because Miriam
fights his mother to possess his soul, and the mother being the stronger of the
two, the girl has to accept defeat. But Paul fails to establish satisfying relationship
with Clara too, in spite, of the fact that Clara has no claims upon his soul. Thus it
is dear that there is great organic disturbance in Paul’s psyche that cripples his
manhood, and for which his mother is solely responsible.
The PauI-Miriam relationship, delineated at such a great length, has another
relevance also. Miriam is mortally afraid of physical relations and even when she
submits to Paul's sexual demands, she behaves like a creature awaiting immolation.
Paul also is mentally absent from there. The discussion of this relationship is given so
much prominence in the novel that it has to lv accepted as one of the themes.