Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Unlike most of Lawrence’s fiction, “Sun” avoids the basic conflicts arising from problems of mating (or of erotic selection and fulfillment). Although Juliet and Maurice are temperamentally estranged throughout the story, the wife decides finally (although unenthusiastically) to resume her marriage and, after a time, to conceive another child by her listless husband. Attracted to the “quick animal” vitality of the Sicilian peasant, she nevertheless rejects this man as a lover, following the dictates of prudence and convention rather than the impulses of her emotions. Head wins over heart, and the narrative line of this story deviates—in a pattern not typical for Lawrence—from one that has an end result in erotic fulfillment. Instead, the pattern resembles that of such late fiction by the author as “The Woman Who Rode Away” and St. Mawr (1925), in which the female protagonist similarly discovers spirituality by merging her ego with the universe, thus attaining a substitute gratification for physical passion.

In this story, the substitute “lover” for Juliet is the animating force of the sun. This force provides more than the healthful values of sunbathing or physical culture: It provides a close contact with blood consciousness. Warmed by the sun, Juliet is restored in her blood to a consciousness of her essential nature, so that her body is in harmony with external Nature.

Lawrence contrasts the physical and...

(The entire section is 452 words.)