What is Lawrence's philosophy regarding human relationships in Sons and Lovers?
Much of Lawrence's work is informed by his knowledge of the work of Sigmund Freud. His explorations of the notions of the Oedipus Complex are evident in the book Sons and Lovers.
He summarised the plot in a letter to Edward Garnett on 12 November 1912:
It follows this idea: a woman of character and refinement goes into the lower class, and has no satisfaction in her own life. She has had a passion for her husband, so her children are born of passion, and have heaps of vitality. But as her sons grow up she selects them as lovers —
In the novel Sons and Lovers Lawrence explores the unhappy liaison of a well educated and comfortably off young woman and an uncouth man. There is a great deal of autobiography in the novel and Morel's life is spent trying to make up for the sadness his mother has experienced. However, at the end, he understands that he must break free in order to really become his own person. In conclusion, Lawrence seems to feel that we are constrained by duty to others and in order to be fully free and fully ourselves we need to break traditions of duty.
The hero, Paul does not break free from his mother's hold on him. Indeed, even after her death, he canot commit himself to a permanent relationship due to the strong hold his mothr's shadow casts upon him. It is truly an Oedipus Complex, taken straight from Freudian texts.