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Explore the relationship between Paul Morel and his mother.

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Introduction

Explore the relationship between Paul Morel and his mother. What impact does this have on his later relationships? ('Sons and Lovers') "The texture of Paul's relationship with his mother is one of an intimacy so close that the only adequate means of expression are sexual, but its structure is throughout one of social aspiration." John Goode1 It is clearly evident throughout the novel that the relationship Paul and his mother have is not one of any other normal son and mother relationship. It is far too close and suffocating to be portrayed as 'normal'; yet as John Goode has said above, it is a relationship full of social aspiration. Mrs. Morel is determined for her son to be a social success and Paul sees his mother as the one to raise him above the level of the 'coal-pits'. She has the power, intellect and ruthless direction. Mrs. Morel, a 'Puritan', tries to refine and elevate her husband; when she fails she starts to despise him and tries again, first with William and then with Paul. She is a woman of immense strength of character, determination and emotion. Having failed to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with her husband she attempts to regain much of the love she has been deprived of through her sons. ...read more.

Middle

Miriam adores Paul for his supposed intellectuality. Their relationship is concerned with books, flowers and going to chapel. It is clearly evident that Mrs. Morel disapproves of this relationship, she does not like Miriam. She sees her as competition, she does not want to share Paul with anyone, she wants him all to herself; and the fact that Miriam is intellectually equal to Mrs. Morel makes her all the more jealous: "She could feel Paul being drawn away by this girl. And she did not care for Miriam..'.She wants to draw him out and absorb him till there is nothing left of him, even for himself." Paul is uncertain about his girlfriend and hardly knows whether she irritates him or whether he loves her. A huge barrier of 'purity' is between them and it seems impossible that they will ever love physically. We sense Paul's frustration increasing as he continues his relationship with this soulful and awkward girl. Lance St John Butler2 says of the relationship: " All their activities together as 'Lad-and-girl' rest uncomfortably on Miriam's sexlessness." Even when Paul tries to teach her algebra, and becomes angry when she is slow at understanding, his anger has a sexual quality that implies the frustration of the relationship: "He had been too fast. ...read more.

Conclusion

"But it seems for Miriam nothing can be done"- Louis L.Martz4 as is shown in the last, sad meeting they have, after his mother's death: "..Her bloom of youth had quickly gone. A sort of stiffness... had come upon her" Paul knows what he has done to her, but he cannot help her, for she no longer attracts him. His mother's influence has restrained the vitality in Miriam that once drew them together. Inevitably, he rejects her proposal with his mother's reasoning: "But you love me so much, you want to put me in your pocket. And I should die there smothered" By the end of the novel there remains in Paul his mother's tough, determined will; damaged as he is, "he would not give in". Whatever happens to others, he will survive: his mother's will drives him on. His growth in self-knowledge offers a better hope. Paul has managed to take everything from his mother that he needs; this will last forever. And from this moment on, every success he has will be his own not due to his mother: "Turning sharply, he walked towards the city's gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast...He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly." ?? ?? ?? ?? 4 1 ...read more.

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