58 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

Sons and Lovers

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1913

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The Immediacy of Emotion

In Sons and Lovers, the characters tread a constant line between immediate internal emotions and reserved expressions of these emotions. To the outside world, Paul seems quiet and introspective. Inside, however, his emotions are constantly raging between love for his mother, loathing for his father, and an artistic yearning to experience every sensation possible. His parents’ marriage presents a similar dynamic to the outside world. Walter and Gertrude hate one another, but they stay together and allow the outside world to assume that they are typically affectionate for one another. To the outside world, they are a traditional man and wife. Inside the house, however, they hate each other with an immediacy and an intensity that is hidden from the public view. The immediacy of emotion affects every character, but they hide the immediacy of their emotions from the world. In the restrained English society of the late 1800s and early 1900s, such displays of emotional honesty are considered gauche and unsuitable. As such, everything in society is predicated on the obfuscation of honest emotion, from individuals like Paul to couples like Gertrude and Walter.

Paul and Miriam bond over their intense emotions. As an artist, Paul is enraptured by the natural world around him.