Sons and Lovers Topics for Further Study
by D. H. Lawrence

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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Compare Lawrence’s novel to the film adaptation made of it in 1960 which was directed by Jack Cardiff. How does Cardiff adapt Lawrence’s episodic telling of the story to the screen? What information does Cardiff leave out of the film, and what effects do these omissions have on the story? Discuss as a class.

Make a chapter by chapter timeline of the novel, detailing major events and shifts in point of view. Hang the chart in the classroom, and make any necessary changes to it while discussing the novel.

Gather in groups and draw a portrait of Paul’s brain, marking off sections according to the thoughts and people that preoccupy him during the novel. How much space would you give to Miriam? How much to his mother? How much to his father? Present the portrait to the class and explain your labeling choices.

In explaining his theory of the oedipal complex, Freud claimed that between two and five years old, during the phallic stage of their development, boys fantasize about being their mother’s lover. The boy’s sexual interests, however, are soon met with the threat of castration from the father, and the eventual successful resolution involves identification with the father and assuming an active and aggressive social role in a patriarchal society. Discuss how the relationship between Paul and his mother does not illustrate or echo the Oedipus complex.

Write a summary of what might happen in a sixteenth chapter. What happens to Paul once he reaches the “faintly humming, glowing town”? Take turns reading your summaries to the class.