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David Herbert Lawrence Essay Research Paper David

David Herbert Lawrence Essay, Research Paper David Herbert Lawrence As a twentieth century novelist, essayist, and poet, David Herbert Lawrence brought the subjects of sex, psychology, and religion to the

David Herbert Lawrence Essay, Research Paper

David Herbert Lawrence As a twentieth century novelist, essayist, and poet, David

Herbert Lawrence brought the subjects of sex, psychology, and religion to the

forefront of literature. One of the most widely read novels of the twentieth century,

Sons and Lovers, which Lawrence wrote in 1913, produces a sense of Bildungsroman1,

where the novelist re-creates his own personal experiences through the protagonist

in (Niven 115). Lawrence uses Paul Morel, the protagonist in Sons and Lovers,

for this form of fiction. With his mother of critical importance, Lawrence uses

Freud’s Oedipus complex, creating many analyses for critics. Alfred Booth

Kuttner states the Oedipus complex as: “the struggle of a man to emancipate

himself from his maternal allegiance and to transfer his affections to a woman

who stands outside the family circle” (277). Paul’s compromising situations

with Miram Leivers and Clara Dawes, as well as the death of his mother, display

the Oedipus complex throughout Sons and Lovers. At an adolescent age, Paul’s

oedipal love towards his mother is compromised by a young lady named Miram Leivers.

This profound situation puts Paul to the emotional test of Oedipal versus physical

love. As Kuttner goes on to state: “Paul’s admiration for his mother

know no bounds; her presence is always absorbing. Often at the sight of her, ‘his

heart contracts with love’” (278). Paul’s maternal relationship

defines the Oedipus complex. Miram pulls Paul away from his mother, while Paul’s

mother, Gertrude, sees Miram as a threat to her son. Paul, even though Miram is

around, still will not commit totally to her because of the strong ties between

mother and son. Paul says to his mother, “I’ll never marry while I’ve

got you – I won’t…” (Lawrence 240). Lawrence wrote frequently

of Paul’s love belonging to his mother and only his mother (212). Though

Miram Leivers could not truly find Paul’s heart, another woman named Clara

Dawes provides more stress on Paul’s maternal relationship. Although Paul

loved Clara, he still kept his attraction toward his mother. “Everything

he does is for her, the flowers he picks as well as the prizes he wins at school.

His mother is his intimate and his confidant” (Kuttner 278). Clara tried

desperately to win Paul over, but her social sophistication was too much for him.

Paul tells his mother: “I don’t want to belong to the well-to-do middle

class. I like my common people the best. I belong to the common people”

(Lawrence 250). Clara shows frustration with Paul because of his maternal devotion.

Again Lawrence displays the Oedipus complex through Paul to his mother, “And

I shall never meet the right woman as long as you live” (341). Paul’s

Oedipal love would be tested once more by him dealing with the death of his mother.

Paul, though, was tough enough in handling this dilemma. R.P. Draper recognizes

the loss of Paul’s mother as: Their special, private, intimate grief over

the impossible dream, and the magnificence of the woman, and the devotional quality

of Paul’s love, render the deathbed scenes poignant and innocent (292).

The verification of Kuttner’s statement is seen as Lawrence has Paul react

to her death in this manner: “my love – my love – oh, my love!

My love – oh, my love!” (384). Lawrence also writes of Paul’s

continuing love for his mother: “Looking at her, he felt he could never,

never let her go. No!” (385). Kuttner Implies: “But death has not

freed Paul from his mother. It has completed his allegiance to her. For death

has merely removed the last earthly obstacle to their ideal union” (280).

The love that Paul feels towards his mother would never die. He loves her just

as much when she died as he did when she was still alive. Paul continues life

having a maternal devotion that no other woman would ever be able to fill. Throughout

the novel, Paul is seen as one who lives for his mother. Mark Spilka explains:

“For if Paul has failed in his three loves, he has drawn from them the necessary

strength to live” (293). Sons and Lovers was written with Lawrence almost

defining the Oedipus complex through Paul. With this in mind, Kuttner gives this

insight about the novel: Sons and Lovers possesses this double quality to a high

degree. It ranks high, very high as a piece of literature and at the same time

embodies a theory which it illustrates and exemplifies with a completeness that

is nothing less than astonishing (277). Psychologists of today still accept the

Oedipus complex as a viable explanation for the love and fascination that male

children display towards their mothers. Lawrence successfully created an educational

novel as well as an easily readable and interesting novel. Literary critics tend

to speculate that Sons and Lovers was written by Lawrence as somewhat of an autobiography

centering Paul’s life around his own. Whether or not this is true will never

be determined, though it will continue to remain a favorite topic for critical

analysis for years to come.

Draper, R.P. “D.H. Lawrence

on Mother Love.” Essays in Criticism 8 (1958): 285-289. Rpt. In TCLC. Ed.

Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16. Detroit: Gale, 1985. 293-294. :Kuttner, Aldred Booth.

“Sons and Lovers’: A Freudian Appreciation.” The Psychoanalytic

Review. 3 (1916): 295-317. Rpt. In TCLC, Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16. Detroit:

Gale, 1985. 277-282. :Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers. New York: Barnes & Noble,

1996. :Niven, Alastair. “D.H. Lawrence.” British Writers. Vol. 7.

1984. 87-126. :Spilka, Mark. The Love Ethic of D.H. Lawrence. (1955): 244. Rpt.

In TCLC. Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16. Detroit: Gale, 1985. Bibliography **** Works

Cited : **** David Herbert Lawrence Essay Research Paper Davidraper, R.P. “D.H. Lawrence on Mother Love.” Essays

in Criticism 8 (1958): 285-289. Rpt. In TCLC. Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16. Detroit:

Gale, 1985. 293-294. :Kuttner, Aldred Booth. “Sons and Lovers’: A

Freudian Appreciation.” The Psychoanalytic Review. 3 (1916): 295-317. Rpt.

In TCLC, Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16. Detroit: Gale, 1985. 277-282. :Lawrence,

D.H. Sons and Lovers. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. :Niven, Alastair. “D.H.

Lawrence.” British Writers. Vol. 7. 1984. 87-126. :Spilka, Mark. The Love

Ethic of D.H. Lawrence. (1955): 244. Rpt. In TCLC. Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 16.

Detroit: Gale, 1985.

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