Compared to all others of the early twentieth century, ‘Sons and Lovers’ stands apart – it doesn’t necessarily have the class as it talks about the common people’s common problems and common weakness – love, passion, sex and life. D. H. Lawrence, we all know, was a kind of extension of Sigmund Freud and he almost brought his theories into practice in his novels. Sons and Lovers is about a complex mother-son relationship which can be interpreted in various ways; however, the novel that this complexity produces – is marvellous!
In short, the story is about Gertrude, the mother and her sons – William at the beginning and Paul after the death of him. Gertrude finds Walter Morel at a party and after physically intimate courtship, she marries him. However, the life after marriage is a compilation of shattered dreams seen before the marriage. She finds Walter a drunkard, less-earning and abusive man who does not love her more. After the birth of her son, William, she finds her attraction in him. When William goes away, Gertrude shifts her attention towards Paul. This intimate bond between mother and her son does not let Paul or William experience the love and relationship with women freely. They feel a kind of imprisonment and cannot break it. William dies trying and Paul sees his mother die. Paul is also left alone at the end after the death of his mother. However, he had his relationships with Miriam and Clara which were failed ones as Paul could not understand what are the moves to make…
The novel is animated, moving and interesting as well. It does not hold the readers. There are the instances in the novel which will be surprising and there are also the instances in the novel which will be shocking (a kind of). The unusual imagery of mother-son relationship in Sons and Lovers became an instant hit in the time of Lawrence. The novel came out in 1913. Nevertheless, there were many raised eyebrows too!
I have enjoyed reading this novel and I will advise the readers to go through it. They will never find the story boring as it does not promise you a ‘classic’ but a story which has something to convey. Except for the mother-son-women-men relationships, there are several other things in the novel which keep the readers indulged. However, the focus is on Gertrude-Paul story which has several conflicts with other developments like Paul-Miriam and Paul-Clara romantic developments. The NovelsToRead verdict for this novel, Sons and Lovers, is that it MUST be read! Go ahead and enjoy the creation of D. H. Lawrence.