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August 17, 2017


Sons and Lovers

by N@ncy


1. Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
a. Sons and Lovers   refers to a mother’s grasp on her sons.
b. She selects them as ‘lovers’… the eldest, William and then Paul.


2. Where does the primary action take place?
a. Bestwood: English coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire.
b. The Bottoms: neighborhood in which the Morel family lives
c. Willey Farm: home of Paul Morel’s first lover (Miriam).


3. How does the story get started?
a. Home in The Bottoms, Morel’s marriage, birth of children,
b. Parents fall out of love.
c. The young wife was silent, her manner had changed.
d. Something in her proud honorable soul had crystallized out hard as rock. (ch 1)


4. Who are the main characters?
a. Mrs Morel (mother)
b. Paul (son) – young man and budding artist


5. Does the story contain a single effect or impression for the reader?
I was intrigued by Lawrence’s use of opposites:
a. Mrs. Morel – Mr. Morel:
b. His nature was purely sensuous – she strove to make him moral.
c. Mrs. Morel – Mrs. Leivers:
d. Mother cared about Paul’s achievement – neighbor cared about his art.
e. William – Lily:
f. He is well-read, intelligent and she understands nothing but love-making and chatter.
g. Mrs. Morel – Miriam:
h. With Miriam he gained insight, his vision went deeper.
i. From mother he drew life-warmth, the strength to produce. (ch 7)


6. What is the conflict that  confronts the leading character(s)?
a. external – Paul vows to protect his mother forever.
b. internal – Paul can’t find love soulmate love (Miriam), physical affair (Clare).
c. Neither of them can get past his obsessive love he has for his mother.


7. How is the conflict resolved?
a. The emotional battle was not resolved.
b…not even by the death of his mother.
c. This is a major turning point in his autobiographical novel.


8. Does this story create any special mood?
a. Setting: descriptions of the
b. beautiful countryside found in rural England’s coal country;
c. the flora and fauna in their detail and his descriptions of
d. family life, the simplicity of cooking, eating, and socializing.
e. Dialogue: attitudes toward love and marriage are reflected in the dialogue.
f. Local color is expressed by the regional dialect.
g. Mr. Morel’s manner of speech reveals limited education.
h. His speech contains colloquial grammar peppered with rural slang.


9. Is there a quote that impressed you?
Pre-WWI book by English authors always touch on the difference
between classes in the country.
D.H. Lawrence summed it up perfectly:
a. The difference between people isn’t in their class, but in themselves.
b. Only from the middle class one gets ideas
c. from the common people — life itself, warmth. (ch 10)



  1. The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence.
  2. It is considered his earliest masterpiece.
  3. D.H. Lawrence describes the values of  tightly knit mining community.
  4. It tells the story of Paul Morel…
  5. ….his failed loves and his close relationship with his mother.
  6. The book was regarded by some as obscene at the time of publication.
  7. It now stands as an English classic.
  8. of the Modern Library’s Top Novels of the 20th C.
  9. I read the book and listened to the audio book (16 hr 31 min)
  10. The voices breathe life into the book!
  11. #MustRead


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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 17 2017

    I’m still scarred from studying this book at school. I hadn’t realised that the feeling of horror was still there until I saw your post.
    Not sure that I could ever read it for pleasure!!
    Well done you!


    • Aug 17 2017

      I had no preconceptions about the book when I started….but there was something about it that put me off for years reading it.
      I probably read here and there that it was a raw and chilling look at human relationships.
      I can finally tick it off the Modern Library’s List!


  2. It does sound somewhat creepy and I can imagine it would be shocking for its time. I can’t say I’ll be reading this one soon.


    • Aug 18 2017

      The book did have it’s qualities but still it was not the most enjoyable read. It is disturbing to see how a boy’s love for his mother can become an obsession.
      I’ve kept that book on my shelf ….bringing it to The Netherlands and packing it is boxes whenever I moved. It was time to read it and say good-bye!



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #20BooksOfSummer | NancyElin
  2. Wrap-up #20BooksOfSummer 2017 | NancyElin

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