How one can consider Sons and Lovers a psychological novel?

You could claim Sons and Lovers is a psychological novel because of the main character’s overt emotion and introspection. Paul seems to be continually bringing up his stormy feelings and thoughts. He appears acutely sensitive and passionate. He can’t stomach Clara’s criticisms nor her supposed superficiality. Again, Paul’s emphasis on his allegedly intricate interiority makes it rather easy to interpret Sons and Lovers as a psychological work of fiction.

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A psychological novel is one in which the writer explores the minds of the characters, focusing on their motivations and inner conflicts. Before D. H. Lawrence 's generation, the psychological novel was not well established in England, as it was in France or Russia. However, a few novelists, such as...

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A psychological novel is one in which the writer explores the minds of the characters, focusing on their motivations and inner conflicts. Before D. H. Lawrence's generation, the psychological novel was not well established in England, as it was in France or Russia. However, a few novelists, such as Richardson, George Eliot, and even Trollope, regularly give the reader an insight into the mental landscapes and processes of their characters, as Lawrence does in Sons and Lovers.

Perhaps the greatest of all psychological novelists was Dostoevsky, for whom Lawrence always expressed a strong dislike. However, recent critics have noticed a strong affinity between the two. In Dostoevsky and English Modernism 1900–1930, Peter Kaye writes,

Lawrence traveled a distinctively Dostoevskian path after the publication of Sons and Lovers, which moved him away from the English tradition of the novel as biography, the story of individual lives largely immune from metaphysical debate and cultural crisis.

This "Dostoevskian path" is particularly evident in the presentation of Paul's inner conflict in his relationships with Miriam, Clara, and his mother. For instance, Lawrence describes how Paul reacts to physical contact with Miriam when she links arms with him as they walk together.

With Miriam he was always on the high plane of abstraction, when his natural fire of love was transmitted into the fine stream of thought. She would have it so. If he were jolly and, as she put it, flippant, she waited till he came back to her, till the change had taken place in him again, and he was wrestling with his own soul, frowning, passionate in his desire for understanding. And in this passion for understanding her soul lay close to his; she had him all to herself. But he must be made abstract first.

Such passages as this are similar to, if not actually influenced by, the works of Dostoevsky and other explicitly psychological European writers. Paul is not presented as a likeable young hero in the tradition of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English novel, but as something far closer to the intense, complex protagonist characteristic of Russian fiction.

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Before I help you figure out why D. H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers lends itself quite nicely to psychological interpretations, let’s establish a clear definition of “psychological.”

When something—a movie, a TV show, or, in this case, a book—is called psychological, it usually means the work is centered on emotions and matters of the mind.

For example, it might be hard to argue that the Rambo movies are psychological. There’s not a lot of introspection in those action films. The spotlight isn’t on feelings or thoughts.

However, as you might have noticed, Sons and Lovers is deeply emotional. The main character, Paul, is quite an introspective character. Lawrence constantly provides us with an in-depth look into the complex, tempestuous mind and psyche of Paul.

We find out how Paul’s feelings are hurt after Clara critiques his paintings. “He was furious,” says Lawrence. Paul then proceeds to a “passionate exposition of his stuff.”

Lawrence’s emphasis on Paul’s psychology is further cemented when Paul faults Clara for only wanting “the man on top.” Clara doesn’t want “the real him.” Another way to put it: she doesn’t want to take the trouble to try and sort out his purportedly deep and intricate mind and emotions. You might think about how Paul’s elaborate psyche could link to sexism and a perhaps overly romanticized view of artists.

You could argue that Paul is more self-important and self-centered than psychologically profound. Maybe Paul can exaggerate his sensitivity because of his gender. It’s possible that Paul wouldn’t think he was in possession of such significant feelings and thoughts if he was a different gender.

Lastly, you could claim that Paul’s stormy mind is rather cliché. It reinforces the stereotype about the tortured artist.

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Freud's "Oedipus complex" is the central theme of the novel Sons and Lovers. With this book, the author, D. H. Lawrence, offers an insight into a complex psychological problem. The Oedipus complex is a Freudian theory that refers to the sexual attraction of a child to his parent. Sons and Lovers is the first psychoanalytical novel in the English language. It recreates the author's personal experiences through the protagonist, Paul Morel.

Gertrude Morel nurses the pain of an abusive marriage. Her sons, William and Paul, grow up to hate their father and be protective toward their mother. William, the older son, is Gertrude's favorite, and he does everything to please her. After his death, a devastated Gertrude intensifies her hold on Paul. At times, Paul's relationship with his mother is disturbingly passionate. It has a crippling effect on his emotional development. He fails to establish a satisfying relationship with any other woman. Even after his mother's death, Paul's Oedipus complex remains intact. He does not marry his childhood sweetheart, remaining isolated and unfulfilled.

Lawrence concludes that a boy needs to overcome his attraction for his mother and identify with his father as he grows up. A natural resolution of the Oedipus complex is necessary for harmonious relationships in adulthood.

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The book Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence can be considered a psychological novel in terms of its close description of the relationships within it and their effect on the personalities portrayed. The main relationships to examine are between mother and son (Paul and Mrs. Morel) boyfriend and girlfriend (Miriam, Clara and Paul) and also between Mr and Mrs. Morel. It has long been posited by psychologists and psychiatrists that the most fundamental and profound relationship in a man's life is that between himself and his mother (Freud not least among them.) Positive, happy liberating relationships are considered healthy outcomes for early manhood - repressive, smothering and dominant ones are considered less so. Where it ties in with the girlfriends is the area of emotional attachment. Look to see how Paul's adult relationships may have been affected by the mother/son dynamic.

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