Sons and Lovers (Penguin Popular Classics)|
Penguin Classics, Paperback, 27 April, 1995
Author: D.H. Lawrence
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Don't forget the rhubarb
When you read this novel look out for the rhubarb in the garden. It is brilliant writing, DH was just the right thing to read for A level and I have such memories of discussing it in class with the brilliant Mr Meredith.
The book itself is brilliant; my only concern is that this particular edition is deceptive. I hadn't realised I'd be buying a book with such a bad cover, its basically green paper and not the cover shown on Amazon, it was laziness that kept me from returning it. I honestly was appalled; it felt as if it would come apart in my hands.
Nobody has a good word to say about Mrs. Morel. She is perceived as a pathetically neurotic, even cruel woman who constructs an unnatural relationship with her sons and then keeps them in this position for her own evil purposes.
I have never been able to come to terms with this explanation because it would mean that every mother has this kind of power. Freud teaches us that all little boys are 'in love' with mother (of course he then goes on to explain why and how the little Romeo should give it up). I would say he does not give it up and there is no reason why he should. The feeling simply becomes unconscious (he forgets) and later transfers itself to other women who are not his mother.
In the Morel family this goes awfully wrong. What happens to a man who must (read Freud) fall in love with a woman who has a masculinity complex? A woman like Gertrude Morel who would obviously rather be a man, identifies strongly with men's achievements, admmires masculine traits, despises ornaments, can't cry and has more logic than intuition. It is well-known that women who would prefer to be men don't actually get on very well with them (too much envy). Mrs. Morel married her husband because of her strong physical attraction to him. Almost immediately, the mental battle begins and her husband, who is intimidated by her, becomes violent. Soon he gives up, but he never gives in.
And her son, the rather odious, flower-loving Paul Morel, becomes effeminate: there he is, forever helping his mother in the kitchen, allowing women to woo him before he makes good his escape, never losing because he never fights.
The eldest son, William, fares even worse. If a masculine mother brings out the feminine side in her sons, the conflict is not between mother/girlfriend but between the masculine/feminine side of their personality. They can't become men because their mother is not fully a woman.