Why Is There A Theme Of Mother-fixation In Sons And Lovers?


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Will Martin answered
Sons and Lovers is a partly autobiographical novel; there is no doubt that his relationship with his mother was the major influence on Lawrence's life and writing.

In the novel, Gertrude Morel treats two of her sons, first William and then Paul, as her "lovers." There is no physical incest; it is more that, despising her husband, she turns to her sons for emotional support, recognition and, more and more, as the focus for her ambitions. Her husband, a miner, will never make a figure in the world, so she urges her sons on instead. Both the sons do have relationships with other women, but Mrs Morel is such a strong, charismatic character that no other relationship can have the same power over them.
Lawrence doesn't really present this as being anyone's fault. In later novels he could be very harsh towards what he saw as "possessive" women, but in Sons and Lovers it just seems inevitable that a bright, ambitious woman in a disappointing marriage should seek companionship in her bright, ambitious sons. Nevertheless it is presented as a tragedy; neither Mrs Morel, her sons, nor the women in their lives (like the unhappy Miriam who battles with her for possession of Paul) are to find fulfilment.

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