Please describe the imagery used in Sons and Lovers.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Lawrence is a writer who is justly famous for his vivid and lush images, and how he relates them to the characters he populates his work with. This novel is no exception. Consider the following powerful image that Lawrence uses to comment on the relationship between Paul, the novel's protagonist, and Miriam, and how the strong images of nature are used to mirror the flowering and burgeoning of love and passion in these two characters:

It was very still. The tree was tall and straggling. It had thrown its briers over a hawthorn-bush, and its long streamers trailed thick, right down to the grass, splashing the darkness everywhere with great spilt stars, pure white. In bosses of ivory and in large splashed stars the roses gleamed on the darkness of foliage and stems and grass. Paul and Miriam stood close together, silent, and watched. Point after point the steady roses shone out to them, seeming to kindle something in their souls. The dusk came like smoke around, and still did not put out the roses.

Note how the flowers are compared to "great split stars, pure white," in an unforgettable metaphor. The brightness of these white roses are so powerful that even the darkness is unable to extinguish their brilliance, and the way that their light shines out to Paul and Miriam, "seeming to kindle something in their souls," strongly suggests that this powerful, vibrant flowering of nature that this image presents to the reader corresponds with a similar flowering or burgeoning of emotions and love in these two characters. Natural images are used to highlight the state of mind of the characters, which is a technique used frequently by Lawrence in his writing.

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