How does Sons and Lovers display Lawrence’s preoccupation with "consciousness" as an important concept in modernist novels?

Sons and Lovers displays Lawrence’s preoccupation with consciousness as an important concept in modernist novels because Paul’s world and relationships depend on his subjective thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

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In Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence displays his preoccupation with consciousness through Paul. Paul is the main character of the story; the novel centers on him and his tumultuous thoughts and feelings. By making brooding Paul his protagonist , Lawrence demonstrates how consciousness is an important concept in...

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In Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence displays his preoccupation with consciousness through Paul. Paul is the main character of the story; the novel centers on him and his tumultuous thoughts and feelings. By making brooding Paul his protagonist, Lawrence demonstrates how consciousness is an important concept in modernist novels.

For modernists, rational and detached discourse is set aside in favor of deep introspection. Modernists tended to zoom in on a person’s inner life. They spotlighted their interior realm and showed how their subjective awareness could govern their relationship to the world. What propels Paul and leads him to make the choices he does is not objective logic but the inner workings of his mind.

Lawrence describes the impact that Miriam’s physical affection has on Paul as “almost torture.” Paul is not suffering outward torture. It’s not torture that would be plainly visible to the public. The torture is inward. When Paul is with Miriam, Lawrence says his “consciousness seemed to split.” This division leads to an “internecine battle.” As with the near-torture, the battle takes place on an abstract, interior level.

The conflict within Paul determines how he views his art, family, and romantic partners. Besides Miriam, Paul’s inner disquiet impacts his relationship with Clara and his mom, Mrs. Morel. Paul is not the only character whose consciousness greatly influences their outlook. Mrs. Morel, too, is heavily impacted by her interior realm. It shapes how she treats Paul and Miriam.

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