In Sons and Lovers, how is Paul Morel influenced as a youth by his family's values?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A great place to investigate how Paul Morel is influenced by his mother is Chapter 4 of this text, which explores "The Young Life of Paul" and in particular the way that his mother influenced him. What is key to note is that Mrs. Morel herself came from the middle classes, and chose to marry a working class man. As a result, she despises so much about her husband and his life and the life that she is forced to lead because of her marriage. This class consciousness is something that she transmits to her children, but in addition she establishes such a strong bond with Paul that the rest of his life is dominated by the strength of his relationship with his mother. Note the following quote:

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.

Here the narrator expresses the strength of Paul's attachment to his mother. Not even the prospect or thought of foreign travel is enough of a temptation compared to the thought of going home and spending time with his mother. The text makes it clear therefore that Paul is massively influenced by his mother and the attachment that she creates between them. As the rest of the novel makes clear, this is something that impacts Paul as he struggles to make relationships with other women.


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