Lawrence's first great novel, Sons and Lovers, is clearly autobiographical: "there's no denying the closeness of the resemblance between Paul Morel's life and that of his creator" (DeMott vii). The novel tells the story of Gertrude Morel, a mother whose possessive love for her sons hinders their ability to establish fulfilling relationships with other women. Lawrence himself had an unusually close attachment to his mother. The novel also depicts the working class of England at the turn of the century, when industrialism was rearing its ugly head and was creeping upon the English countryside. Set in a town similar to the one where he was born, Sons and Lovers gives a detailed and realistic portrayal of the hardships and conflicts of the Morels, a mining family.
Gertrude Morel, the character based on Lawrence's mother, has married below her station; she is a religious woman who is serious and believes in hard work and adherence to a strict code of morals (3). She is unhappy and disillusioned with the lower-class mining-family lifestyle and is "sick of it, the struggle with ...
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...ious that Lawrence preferred the agrarian England as opposed to the dehumanizing and mechanized modern world. Lawrence addresses "the human costs" of an industrialized society in Sons and Lovers and many of his other works, including his infamous Lady Chatterly's Lover (DeMott viii). Industrial British society has turned away from its agrarian roots and is destroying England, and the old way of life is seen as much more vibrant and complete. Lawrence, a genius in his own time, prophesied "that the West is on a disaster course and that all of us must change our lives" before we destroy the beauty of our world, and in the process destroy our own souls (DeMott viii).
DeMott, Benjamin. Introduction. Sons and Lovers. By D.H. Lawrence. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.
Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers. New York: Penguin Books, 1985.
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