Sons and Lovers, the novel, holds a very important place in my life. I have read it as a student and then studied it as a grown-up man having literary occupations. Both the times, I had that mesmerising effect which is conventional as far as the novels of this quality are concerned. D. H. Lawrence becomes as detailed as Thomas Hardy and as philosophical as Aldous Huxley; it purely depends on the context, nonetheless.
Sons and Lovers is a classic novel to be very honest at the very outset of this prolonged argumentative article. Why am I ascribing to it what’s generally ascribed to Dickens’ or Brontes’? Well, I have read them all – the certified classics. I have read some of the Lawrence’s as well. Yes, they are different in tone, nature and subject matter; and, to sound perplexed to many ones, that very difference brought by D. H. Lawrence is classic to me!
Sons and Lovers is mainly about the sexual experience, confusion around physical intimacy and a very delicate philosophical exploration of the secondary protagonist named Paul. Yes, I believe that the central or the most important protagonist in the novel is Gertrude herself. She is the one who drives the storyline as directed by the novelist. Every life in this novel is somehow connected to the centre of this circle called Gertrude – a sophisticated lady failed by her choice of husband… passionate but never fulfilled… sensible but very emotive at times. She is Gertrude.
Other important characters in the novel are Miriam and Clara. I believe both these ladies act as two distinct poles in the life of Paul – one as the intellectual compulsion and the other as the physical exploration in love. Paul is passionate with both – with Miriam, he is exploring the intellectual and philosophical truths and lies and with Clara, he tries to understand whether he has that sexual desire or not, actually. In contrast with each other, Miriam is the second powerful lady in the terms of impact on Paul, only next to Gertrude. However, she gives in to Paul’s undenying appeal and they both (Paul and Miriam) understand it failed. Gertrude is more careful about Paul’s relationship with Miriam than with Clara because she, somewhere deep, fears the power of Miriam’s ‘wisdom’ about life.
Ending of the novel is justified to me. Lawrence has shown that without the centre, a circle cannot hold anything – in fact, there is no concept of a circle without a centre. Gertrude dies and Paul is shattered into pieces. This is how the novel ends and we are supposed to presume that Paul is going to neither of Miriam and Clara. He would suffer and die alone as he could never come out of the eternal enigma of love, life and his priorities.
Critically, the novel is complex. It has many things to offer to the readers but at centre, the major place is occupied, no doubt, by Gertrude’s passionate dreams which never fruited. About incest and offensive and obscene elements in the novel, I have seen many people complain even without reading it. There is nothing like that! The novel can be read and enjoyed by anyone. Go ahead and read this amazing piece of fiction of you will miss something very important!
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
Sons and Lovers is a novel which is undeniable… once you begin, you have to finish it! A perfect fiction for readers – starters, pros and champions!