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Analysis of Lawrence's Novel Sons and Lovers

Paper type: Analysis
Pages: 4 (872 words)
Categories: Character, Feminism, Novels, Psychology, Relationship, Sigmund Freud
Downloads: 32
Views: 2

A Psychoanalytic and Feminist Analysis of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers

The novel Sons and Lovers, written by D.H. Lawrence, is one of the masterpieces that English literature has. The novel is categorised as being psychological and therefore, the purpose of my essay is to analyse it from a psychoanalytic and feminist point of view, looking at how the events that occurred during Paul’s childhood has shaped his personality and how the relationship with his mother has influenced his adult life.

Moreover, another interesting topic that I am going to discuss in this essay is related to the feminist perspective and if the voices of the women characters are powerful in the novel.As Irina Burlui states in her book, D.H. Lawrence was interested in the wholeness of being (137), shaping complex characters, describing their behaviour and identifying their needs, in a period that has brought many changes in the world.

When describing his characters, Lawrence went deeper and deeper into their minds and brought into the reader’s attention the typical problems of the people during those times.

With other words, Lawrence’s interest was the human mind and psyche, a topic which is widely discussed in psychology and, in my opinion, the psychological theories can help the readers to access and understand the mind of his characters.Sigmund Freud is the one who founded psychoanalysis, as a form of treatment mentally ill patients (Caraman). He developed many concepts, but I am going to focus mainly on the one called The Oedipus Complex because enables us to explore the relationship between Mrs Morel and his son, Paul. The theory comes from Greek mythology, from Sofocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex (Caraman) and the story is about Oedipus, who married his mother and killed a man without knowing that he is his father. Hence, Freud developed his theory, which states that the young child develops a purely affectionate tie to the parent of the opposite sex and a hostile tie to the parent of the same sex, taken as a rival. (Keitlen, 3)

Freud concluded The Oedipus Complex theory by saying that a boy can have a healthy relationship in the future only if he overcomes his attraction toward his mother and imitates his father’s behaviour, identifying with him. The personality of Paul Morel, the main character from the novel Sons and Lovers, can be analysed through the psychological theory postulated by Freud. From the beginning, it was obvious for me that the relationship between Mrs Morel and Paul is more powerful and different than the one with her other children. Even if she did not want to born this child, because of the misunderstandings with her husband, Mrs Morel seems to have a distinctive bond with Paul, as we can see in the following quote: She no longer loved her husband A wave of hot love went over her to the infant. She held it close to her face and breast. With all her force, with all her soul, she would make up to it for having brought it into the world unloved (Lawrence, 58).

As we can notice, Mrs Morel transforms her sadness caused by her husband, into an overwhelming love for her son.As Freud claimed, the personality of a child is developed in the very first months after birth. He called this the oral stage (McLeod) of development and the bonds between mothers and children are developed when the mother is breastfeeding. In other words, the baby is pleased. In the quote from above, the first stage is developed in Paul’s life and The Oedipus Complex starts to form the problem of the novel.The possessiveness of Mrs Morels comes from the fact that she is not satisfied with her marriage. Even if she was one of the few women during those times who was able to marry the man she wanted, she does not love her husband anymore.

Unfortunately, she did not accomplish her big dreams which she had before marrying. Now, she does not want the same life for her children. She believes that is the right person to decide what is better for them, especially for Paul. In the following passage, we can notice that she wants to control her children’s life: these men would work out what SHE wanted; they were derived from here, they were of her, and their works also would be hers. (Lawrence, 157)The death of William brings only sorrow in Mrs Morel’s life and she tries to heal her wound with the help of Paul. Paul devotes his life to her and most of his actions are controlled by Mrs Morel. The relationship between Paul and Miriam is doomed to fail from the beginning because of Mrs Morel’s aversion toward the girl.As the author constantly reveals us the mind of the characters, we are able to discover that both Paul and Mrs Morel hate his father respectively her husband.


  1. Burlui, Irina. Lectures in twentieth century British Literature. Ia™i: Universitatea “Al. I. Cuza”, 1980
  2. .Keitlen, Seymour. The Oedipus Complex: A Philosophical Study. Vrtualbookworm.com, 2003.
  3. Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers. Planet eBook.com, 1913.
  4. McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Psychosexual stages. Retrieved from and Lovers as Psychological Novel.” Topics, Sample Papers & Articles Online for Free, 13 Jun 2016,

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Analysis of Lawrence’s Novel Sons and Lovers. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/analysis-of-lawrences-novel-sons-and-lovers-essay

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