Discuss Sons and Lovers as a bildungsroman.

A bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story or a story about growing up. Sons and Lovers is the story of Paul Morel and his failure to ever really cut the apron strings and prioritize another woman ahead of his mother, so it is not quite a bildungsroman.

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To answer this question, the first thing we need to do is define what a bildungsroman is. In a nutshell, it is a story that deals with its protagonist 's formative years and the issues which shape them into become becoming the adult that they later become. One of the...

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To answer this question, the first thing we need to do is define what a bildungsroman is. In a nutshell, it is a story that deals with its protagonist's formative years and the issues which shape them into become becoming the adult that they later become. One of the characteristics of a bildungsroman is that it has to do what the character's moral development which, in this case, is stunted by the protagonist's mother.

Mrs. Morel had an unhappy marriage and relied on her sons, to an unhealthy degree, for her happiness. In the aftermath of her son William's death, she fixates on her second son, Paul, whose growth, or lack thereof, we see in the story of Sons and Lovers.

In most cases, coming of age means outgrowing the need for one's parents to a certain extent, but this proves to be problematic for Paul Morel. Despite the fact that he falls in love with Miriam Leivers, he allows his mother's disapproval of her to be a major factor in their relationship.

He loves his mother more than he ever allows himself to love any woman, which ultimately results in him ending up completely alone in the aftermath of his mother's death. The closest he ever comes to real passion is with Clara, a married woman who refuses to leave her husband and therefore never truly has the potential to drive a wedge between Paul and his mother.

I would argue that as a bildungsroman, Sons and Lovers fails because it is the portrayal of a man who fails to grow up.

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