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SON’S AND LOVER’S 100 YEARS OLD – D H Lawrence

 
Sons and Lovers

Sons and Lovers Quotes

Quote 1: Paul continually prays for his mother’s safety: “‘Make him stop drinking’. He prayed every night. ” ‘Lord, let my father die’, he prayed very often. ‘Let him not be killed at pit'”, he prayed when, after tea, the father did not come home from work.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 60

Quote 2: “He was an outsider. He had denied the God in him.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 63

Quote 3: “All day long, as she cleaned the house, she thought of him. He was in London: he would do well. Almost, he was like her knight who wore her favour in the battle.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 79

Quote 4: “Not even the Mediterranean, which pulled at all his young man’s desire to travel, and at his poor man’s wonder at the glamorous south, could take him away when he might come home.” Part 1, Chapter 4, pg. 82

Quote 5: “But still, in her heart of hearts, where the love should have burned, there was a blank. Now, when all her woman’s pity was roused to its full extent, when she would have slaved herself to death to nurse him and to save hum, when she would have taken the pain herself, if she could, somewhere far away inside her, she felt indifferent to him and to his suffering. It hurt her most of all, this failure to love him, even when he roused her strong emotions.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 86

Quote 6: He feels as if he is a “prisoner of industrialism.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89

Quote 7: “Already his heart went down. He was being taken into bondage. His freedom in the beloved home valley was going now.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89

Quote 8: “He liked to watch his fellow-clerks at work. The man was the work and the work was the man, one thing, for the time being. It was different with the girls. The real woman never seemed to be there at the task, but as if left out, waiting.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 112

Quote 9: “The trains roared by like projectiles level on the darkness, fuming and burning, making the valley clang with their passage. They were gone, and the lights of the towns and villages glittered in silence.” Part 1, Chapter 5, pg. 112

Quote 10: Mrs. Morel “clung now to Paul.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 114

Quote 11: As Paul says, “But I like the feel of men on things, while they’re alive. There’s a feel of men about trucks, because they’ve been handled with men’s hands, all of them.” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 123

Quote 12: All Mrs. Morel can say is, “‘My son.'” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 139

Quote 13: When the critical moment arrives, Mrs. Morel cries to Paul, “‘My son.'” Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 141

Quote 14: “Then he was so ill, and she felt he would be weak. Then she would be stronger than he. Then she could love him. If she could be mistress of him in his weakness, take care of him, if he could depend on her, if she could, as it were, have him in her arms, how she would love him!” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 143

Quote 15: “She stimulated him into appreciating things thus, and then they lived for her. She seemed to need things kindling in her imagination or in her soul before she felt she had them. And she was cut off from ordinary life by her religious intensity which made the world for her either a nunnery garden or a paradise, where sin and knowledge were not, or else an ugly, cruel thing.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 149

Quote 16: Paul asks her in frustration and anger, “‘ What do you tremble your soul before it?…You don’t learn algebra with your blessed soul. Can’t you look at it with your clear simple wits?'” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 156

Quote 17: “They were going to have a communion together – something that thrilled her, something holy.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 159

Quote 18: Miriam almost worships the flowers, but Paul feels strangely “imprisoned” by the roses and its “white, virgin scent.” Part 2, Chapter 7, pg. 160

Quote 19: Mrs. Morel tells herself that through Paul, “she was to see herself fulfilled.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 183

Quote 20: With his mother, Paul is happy and proud that his mother takes charge of his life; with Miriam, he is filled with “something more wonderful, less human, and tinged to intensity by a pain, as if there were something he could not get to.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 192

Quote 21: Mrs. Morel believes that Miriam is not an “ordinary woman, who can leave me my share in him. She wants to absorb him till there is nothing left of him, even for himself. He will never be a man on his own two feet – she will suck him up.” Part 2, Chapter 8, pg. 193

Quote 22: Disgusted with her behavior, Paul asks, “‘You’re always begging things to love you as if you were a beggar for love. Even the flowers, you have to fawn on them – You don’t want to love – your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. You aren’t positive, you’re negative. You absorb, absorb, as if you must fill yourself up with love, because you’ve got a shortage somewhere.'” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 218

Quote 23: “Something in the eternal repose of the uplifted cathedral, blue and noble against the sky, was reflected in [his mother], something of the fatality. What was, was. With all his young will he could not alter it. He saw her face, the skin still fresh and pink and downy, but crow’s-feet near her eyes, her eyelids steady, sinking a little, her mouth always closed with disillusion; and there was on her the same eternal look, as if she knew fate at last.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 240

Quote 24: He writes, “I can give you a spirit love, I have given you this long, long time; but not embodied passion. See, you are a nun. I have given you what I would give a holy nun…In all our relations no body enters. I do not talk to you through the senses – rather through the spirit. That is why we cannot love in the common sense.” Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 251

Quote 25: “At this rate he would not live. He had that poignant carelessness about himself, his own suffering, his own life, which is a form of suicide. It almost broke her heart. With all the passion of her strong nature she hated Miriam for having in this subtle way undermined his joy.” Part 2, Chapter 10, pg. 258

Quote 26: Miriam tells herself, “She would submit, religiously, to the sacrifice. He should have her. And at the thought her whole boy clenched itself involuntarily, hard, as if against something; but Life forced her through this gate of suffering, too, and she would submit. At any rate, it would give him what he wanted, which was her deepest wish.” Part 2, Chapter 11, pg. 284

Quote 27: “She knew she felt in a sort of bondage to him, which she hated because she could not control it. She hated her love for him from the moment it grew too strong for her. And, deep down, she had hated him because she loved him and he dominated her. She had resisted his denomination. She had fought to keep herself free of him in the last issue. And she was free of him, even more than he of her.” Part 2, Chapter 11, pg. 296

Quote 28: Paul says, “‘[Passion is] what one must have, I think – the real, real flame of feeling through another person – once, only once, if it lasts three months. See, my mother looks as if she’d had everything that was necessary for her living and developing. There’s not a tiny bit of feeling of sterility about her.'” Part 2, Chapter 12, pg. 317

Quote 29: She tells herself, “‘If he must go, let him go and have his fill – something big and intense, he called it. At any rate, when he had got it, he would not want it – that he said himself; he would want the other thing that she could give him. He would want to be owned, so that he could work. It seemed to her a bitter thing that he must go, but she could let him go into an inn for a glass of whisky, so she could let him go to Clara, so long as it was something that would satisfy a need in him, and leave him free for herself to possess.'” Part 2, Chapter 12, pg. 318

Quote 30: He feels that “sometimes he hated her, and pulled at her bondage. His life wanted to free itself of her. It was like a circle where life turned back on itself, and got no farther. She bore him, loved him, kept him, and his love turned back into her, so that he could not be free to go forward with his own life, really love another woman.” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 345

Quote 31: “She knew how stark and alone he was, and she felt it was great that he came to her; and she took him simply because his need was bigger either than her or him, and her soul was still within her. She did this for him in his need, even if he left her, for she loved him.” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 353

Quote 32: As Paul watches Clara swim in the sea, he thinks to himself, “‘She’s lost like a grain of sand in the beach – just a concentrated speck blown along, a tiny white foam-bubble, almost nothing among the morning. Why does she absorb me?'” Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 358

Quote 33: Not only does he feel “imprisoned” when he is with her, Clara also feels that he yearns to break free from her. Part 2, Chapter 13, pg. 359

Quote 34: “It was almost as if he were a criminal. He wanted her – he had her – and it made her feel as if death itself had her in its grip. She lay in horror. There was no man there loving her.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 387

Quote 35: Paul tells Clara, “‘She’s got such a will, it seems as if she would never go – never!'” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 388

Quote 36: “Sometimes they looked in each other’s eyes. Then they almost seemed to make an agreement. It was almost as if he were agreeing to die also. But she did not consent to die; she would not. Her body was wasted to a fragment of ash. Her eyes were dark and full of torture.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 392

Quote 37: “And now he looked paltry and insignificant. There was nothing stable about him. Her husband had more manly dignity. At any rate hedid not waft about with any wind. There was something evanescent about Morel, she thought, something shifting and false. He would never make sure ground for any woman to stand on. She despised him rather for his shrinking together, getting smaller. Her husband at least was manly, and when he was beaten gave in. But this other would never own to being beaten. He would shift round and round, prowl, get smaller.” Part 2, Chapter 14, pg. 407

Quote 38: “She was the only thing that held him up, himself, amid all this. And she was gone, intermingled herself. He wanted her to touch him, have him alongside with her. But no, he would not give in…He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her.” Part 2, Chapter 15, pg. 420

D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum

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D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence was born at 8a Victoria Street, 1885, the first of the Lawrence family’s four Eastwood homes.

Things to see and do

Visits to the Birthplace Museum are by timed tours where you can:

  • learn about family life in the mining community which shaped Lawrence’s formative years
  • view rooms where the family lived
  • view personal items and some of Lawrence’s original watercolours

DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum: 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood

Book a timed tour of the Birthplace Museum to learn about family life in the mining community which shaped Lawrence’s formative years.

D H Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, turns 100 this year

D H Lawrence’s

Sons and LoversAs the 100th anniversary of the first publication of DH Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers is celebrated this month, Blake Morrison, in an article for The Guardian, addresses the “recent dip in Lawrence’s critical standing”.

Although many have bemoaned the cuts Lawrence’s editor, Edward Garnett, made to the manuscript, caricaturing Garnett “as a middlebrow hack who brutally lopped away a tenth of the novel, prudishly censored its erotic passages, and forced Lawrence, in a huff, to take his next novel elsewhere”, Morrison says that Garnett did Lawrence a service. “None of the cuts Garnett made removed the hard veracity of Lawrence’s dialect words – a point in his favour, since other London editors would surely have done so.”

The only scene Morrison is sorry to see cut, is that of the character Paul trying on Clara’s stockings, which could be “a clue to his feminine side, perhaps, or closet transvestism, or masturbatory male heterosexuality, or, on a deeper level, his need to know what it feels like to be Clara”.

Morrison also addresses the feminist critique of Sons and Lovers as expressed by Kate Millett. He does not agree with her view of Lawrence endorsing Paul’s intellectual contempt of Clara. “Trust the tale, not the teller,” Morrison quotes Lawrence. According to Morrison, “the profusion of detail, the use of dialogue, the multiple viewpoints” in Sons and Lovers help the reader to derive more meaning from it than the characters or narrator offer.

Lastly, Morrison looks at Terry Eagleton’s reading of Sons and Lovers, who opined that Lawrence was “not just writing about the working class but writing his way out of it”. Morrison says that the realities of the working class are presented more clearly in Sons and Lovers than in any other novel of its time and, if Lawrence is writing his way out of it, that does not mean he is “dishonouring his caste”. Lawrence writes with insight, “without caricature or condescension”.

‘I tell you I’ve written a great book,” DH Lawrence informed his publisher Edward Garnett, after sending him the manuscript of Sons and Lovers in November 1912. “Read my novel – it’s a great novel.” Lawrence’s immodesty is forgivable: the book had been through four drafts, and after two years of struggle he was hugely relieved to have it finished. The sense of elation didn’t last long. He worried about the title (he had originally called the book “Paul Morel”). He worried whether it might benefit from a foreword (and belatedly posted one to Garnett). He worried about the dust jacket, and arranged for a friend, Ernest Collings, to design one (like the foreword, it wasn’t used). Beneath these worries lay a deeper worry, about the text itself: “I am a great admirer of my own stuff while it’s new, but after a while I’m not so gone on it,” he admitted. He was already on to the next thing (a draft of what would become The Rainbow), and had “scarcely the patience” to correct the proofs. But he was proud when a finished copy reached him in Italy. And the word he used to Garnett recurred, in letters to friends. “It is quite a great novel”; “I remember you telling me, at the beginning, it would be great. I think it is so.”

Lawrence was right. Sons and Lovers is a great novel. A century of readers have reached for the same adjective. FR Leavis did, when he enrolled Lawrence in the “great tradition” of the English novel, comprising Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. And Philip Larkin did so, too, describing Lawrence as “England’s greatest novelist” and Sons and Lovers as his finest achievement: “Cock me! Nearly every page of it is absolutely perfect.” The perfection wasn’t apparent to those close to Lawrence at the time, including his childhood sweetheart Jessie Chambers, his editor Garnett, and his wife-to-be Frieda, all of whom suggested improvements and left their mark on the finished text. But the reviews were good, and 100 years later the novel’s reputation holds up, despite the recent dip in Lawrence’s critical standing.

The Enkindled Spring

LAW













This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, 
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, 
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between 
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, 
Faces of people streaming across my gaze. 

And I, what fountain of fire am I among 
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng 
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.

D. H. Lawrence 
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