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How does D. H. Lawrence convey the 'pain of love' in "Sons and Lovers"

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Introduction

Sons and Lovers The Pain of Love Sons and Lovers, an early 20th century novel by the English author D.H. Lawrence, is a book of substance rather than plot. It is a novel of the heart and psyche, not of the body. The story works its way outside the realm of normal activities, and creeps deep into the minds of the characters. Even when the narrator is telling the truth, there is a lie hidden underneath. Each character tangled in the web that is Sons and Lovers is a lover, and yet on a subconscious level, a fighter as well. These lovers fight with themselves about their own emotions, which leads them to fight with each other. At one moment a character can feel complete love, and at another moment, only absolute hatred. Lawrence uses raw sentences and individually symbolic images for each character in order to convey the contradictions and the pain that makes true love so mysterious. Seemingly simply, yet very harsh sentences are used abundantly in Sons and Lovers as Lawrence's tools for mimicking the human thought process. ...read more.

Middle

The battle that raged inside him made him feel desperate." (509) Lawrence often makes the reader realize how conflicted Paul is by having Paul's feelings shift, so that when it seems as though Paul loved Miriam deeply, "immediately he [hates] Miriam bitterly." (333) Perhaps the best indicator of true characteristics and emotions among the characters comes not from the words, but from the symbols. Sons and Lovers is filled with flower imagery, however flowers are not just one symbol, they are slightly different hints at character traits for each lover, and yet they all revolve around the pain and burden of being a lover. Miriam is a character who needs to be called back down to Earth. Flowers are the unfailing force that makes Miriam absolutely thrilled. She plucks them from the earth and devours them fanatically in her spiritual stupor. She sucks every morsel of life and color out of the flowers, much like she seeks to spiritually exhaust the resources that a person like Paul presents to her. Miriam pulls the flowers and savors them, wishing that she could have Paul in this same way. ...read more.

Conclusion

He wants everyone around him to love him unconditionally, even though he wouldn't be thoroughly satisfied if they all did. Paul doesn't really care about his flowers, just like he doesn't really care about his women. When discussing flowers with Clara and Miriam, Paul sheds some light onto his own scheme by saying, "It does not matter if [the flowers] do die...you get 'em because you want 'em, and that's all." (373) Paul will use whatever he can have without even enjoying it. He's much like a small child, begging for a toy that he will grow tired of after a day. He loves Miriam and Clara because he thinks he wants to, but he does nothing besides bring them pain and disappointment. Perhaps Paul's insurmountable barricade in love is that he can never love anyone like he loves his mother, and can manage to inflict nothing but pain on his lovers. Even though Paul is so burdened by his dilemma, he is not alone in his frustration as long as he has lovers. Each character thinks differently and acts differently, and Lawrence finds ways to tell the reader everything that needs to be known about love, and how cruel it can be. ...read more.

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