illustrated portrait of English author D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence

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How does D. H. Lawrence portray the experience of sorrow in his poem "Sorrow"?

D. H. Lawrence portrays the experience of sorrow in his poem "Sorrow" through sad memories that transcend the physical aspects of the here and now. Even after the death of the speaker's mother, her memory lingers, bringing him much sorrow.

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In his short poem "Sorrow," D. H. Lawrence downplays the significance of the physical world, for which, as one can see in many of his works, he clearly has some considerable distaste.

For Lawrence, the world of heart, soul, and spirit is the real world, the world where people are fully human, free as they are from the dehumanizing effects of modern industrialized society.

Even so, the real world can still bring considerable sorrow, as can be observed in this poem. Here, the speaker has lost his mother, and his thoughts of her dominate his mind to the exclusion of all else.

Memories of his late mother linger on to the extent that nothing else in his life enjoys any real significance. The cigarette between his fingers, the long grey hairs of his mother that still stick to the breast of his coat, represent a physical, material world for which the speaker no longer has any regard.

He is so overwhelmed by sorrow that he effectively retreats into a life of the mind. But the tragedy here is that, because his mind is dominated by thoughts of his late mother, the speaker can no longer find refuge from the physical world.

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