Lawrence is always concerned with the relation between men and women, specifically with the struggle between the male and female principles. The duality inherent in life is thus one of his main themes. In Sons and Lovers this struggle concerns Paul Morel's allegiance to his mother, who couldn't bear to think that any of her sons would be condemned to manual labor, over the semiliterate robustness of his father, who "hated books, hated the sight of anyone reading or writing."
As in many of his works, Lawrence also dramatizes his hatred of industrialism. Here he does so by depicting Walter Morel, Paul's father, as a man brutalized by the life of the mines. The father's vitality has been subverted by mechanization, and the mother's love of her children warped into neurotic possessiveness by modern civilization. She attempts to realize her life through the achievements of her sons. Paul's need for sensual and erotic knowledge conflicts with such maternal idealism, although he, too, has a desire to possess his lovers. Lawrence constantly emphasizes the idea that a balance must be found between male and female principles if happiness is to be achieved. In later writings he supports this idea by calling upon the ancient vitality of pre-Christian ritual, by asserting the male principle or by announcing a truce between sexuality and the intellect. Here he is content to call for a recognition of the life of the blood by dramatizing several eternal conflicts:...
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