Sons and Lovers Questions and Answers
by D. H. Lawrence

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How one can consider Sons and Lovers as a psychological novel?

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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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