• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In Sons and Lovers how does Lawrence challenge conventional attitudes towards social and sexual relationships and what effect does this have on the narrative?

Extracts from this document...


In Sons and Lovers how does Lawrence challenge conventional attitudes towards social and sexual relationships and what effect does this have on the narrative? Social and sexual relationships are integral themes in Lawrence's semi-autobiographical novel. Sons and Lovers can be described as a modernist text due to the unconventional relationship between the novel's protagonist, Paul Morel and it's heroine, Mrs Morel. This essay will discuss the effect of this love and the social conflicts on the narrative. The novel begins with the chapter, 'The early married life of the Morels', and discusses the transformation of Walter Morel and Gertrude Morel's marriage. This can be seen by Gertrude Coppard's initial attraction to Walter's carefree nature, 'He came and bowed above her. A warmth radiated through her as if she had drunk wine' (p. 10) and their eventual hatred and fear of one another, '"Why, nobody but a nasty little bitch like you 'ud 'ave such a thought."'(p. 22). The breakdown in the relationship, is imperative to the narrative as it identifies Mr Morel as a violent husband, and Mr Mrs Morel as a strong, virtuous victim. This is illustrated when a violent, drunken Mr Morel, locks his pregnant wife outside in the cold. ...read more.


However, the novel concludes with their reunion. Lawrence, may have decided that such a relationship should succeed as both people are equals, and are able to finally admit to their love and to their mistakes, '"Take me back!"' (p. 409). This theme of equality is illustrated by the successful (although minor) relationships of Annie Morel and Leonard, and Arthur Morel and Beatrice Wyld. The latter relationship is interesting as Arthur Morel is represented as a parallel to his father, as he is reckless, strong and happy being working class. His relationship with Beatrice Wyld is playful and equal. For instance, in a subconscious need to be accepted by 'Beat', Arthur, 'liked to lapse into dialect when he talked to her' (p. 247) and equally Beatrice 'would sometimes smoke with him' (p. 247). This downward convergence in the soldier's speech is sometimes used by Paul when talking to his male friends and flirting with Clara and Beatrice. This may be evidence of a fear of sounding too socially superior in front of his friends or a form of escapism from his and Miriam's serious conversations. The novel is also made up of certain social relationships which help to shape the narrative, into one of conflict, making Sons and Lovers a social tragedy. ...read more.


Miriam, however, treats nature as she regards Paul. She is overly devoted to such beauty as they are of God's creation, and her intense love for flowers often agitates Paul. However, the working class is sometimes referred to in a more sinister way. For example, Mr Morel spends his days in underground darkness, symbolising his rooted, disagreeable nature within the novel. In conclusion, Lawrence challenges conventional attitudes to social and sexual relationships through the character of Paul Morel. The episodic novel takes the reader on a journey of Paul's life, which is faced with a divided upbringing and thus leads to divided loyalties towards those he loves. He is unable to have conventional relationships, as these too are divided. He is torn between the smothering love of his mother, the suffocating intellectual and spiritual love of Miriam, and the shallow sensual love of Clara. The protagonist is finally free from this division with the death of his mother, and his journey into the 'phosphorescence' marks the beginning of his new life. This open ending is typical of modernist literature and together with the psychoanalytic element of the novel, and the controversy of Paul's relationship with his mother; Sons and Lovers is a modernist novel. Elaine Briggs; English; Year One; Kate Steedman ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Enacting of modern themes and literary devices in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

    She feels that Mrs Ramsay is a very special person. It is not something she knows, but something she feels. The relationship between Lily Briscoe and Mrs Ramsay is a kind of mirror-image of Shakespeare's relationship with the young man.

  2. How is happiness conveyed in Jane Austen's Emma and Charlotte Bronte's Villette?

    Although their marriages are well paired, with men who will complete them, the reader cannot help questioning whether marriage and money will always create 'perfect happiness' (Emma p.367). Villette on the other hand, ends just as mournfully as it begins, with very little defined ending.

  1. Free essay

    Jane Eyre, its film and sequels whatever their differences- always return to the ...

    and Jane speaks clearly about this in chapter 12 "Women are supposed to be very calm...necessary for their sex" (129-130). Brocklehurst, Rochester and St John threaten Jane with the fetters of patriarchy which Jane is resisting in this passage. Jane extends the feeling of entrapment to fellow women, these sentences constitute to Bronte's feminist manifest.

  2. This essay attempts to examine and analyze the autobiographical links in Kafka's fiction Metamorphosis ...

    Existentialist thoughts plagued Kafka, and in his writing to Max Brod concerning his desire for "freedom, freedom above all else," he goes on in characteristically ambiguous terms: "[speaking of the Tubercolosis disease which overcame him] Admittedly the wound is still here, of which my sick lung is only the symbol."3

  1. Pygmalion's title harkened from its predecessor, Ovid's Pygmalion which accounted a woman-hating sculptor falling ...

    The novel explored the misunderstandings beneath the mercenary contours of their struggle. (Rhys 2000 page xi) The themes that surrounded Pygmalion were on the contrary about class, middle-class gentility and morality. (Block 5, page 18) Shaw's audience was largely from the middle-class which assumed that its attitudes were the norm.

  2. How does Charlotte Bronte build up tension? Using chapter 23 to illustrate.

    During their conversation, Rochester tells Jane she'll soon need to leave Thornfield forever because he's finally decided to marry Blanche Ingram. Teasingly Rochester also tells her of a governess position, undertaking the education of the five daughters of Mrs. Dionysius O'Gall of Bitternutt Lodge in Ireland, "indeed I have already,

  1. Essay on the key theme of alienation in the first two parts of the ...

    which was that convent; it seems Antoinette feels the need to attach herself to the last essence of her being by writing her "name in fire red". This is supported by the dream she has afterwards; which clearly shows her as being oppressed by a patriarch society.

  2. In the light of these two critical readings, discus the presentation of the unnamed ...

    When the reader realises he has been sold into this marriage we can no longer vilify him as we would expect to and sympathy is extended towards him. The suppressed letter to his father forms the 'correct' explanation of part of the tragedy in 'Wide Sargasso Sea' as 'he has sold Rochester's soul'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work