The refined and sensitive Gertrude, meets a rough miner at a Christmas dance and falls into a whirlwind romance lead by attraction of the opposite. Soon after her marriage to Walter Morel,realises the difficulties of living off his meagre salary in a bleak environment ,the difference in nature,tastes and philosophy of life with he under the earth in dark and she always blooming in sunlight and fresh air as pure as a flower physically and mentally.
Gradually, her affections shift to her sons. The elder, William, who is so attached to his mother that he doesn't enjoy the fair without her. As he grows older, he defends her and later leaves home for a job in London, where he rise ,got engaged, but detests the girl's superficiality. When he dies, Mrs. Morel is heartbroken. The affection turns towards the second son , Paul, who is both repulsed by and drawn to his mother.He falls into a relationship with Miriam. The two take long walks and have intellectual conversations about books but Paul resists as his mother is the one capturing his soul .Paul meets Clara who symbolises the superficial sensuality.
Paul leaves Miriam, but even Clara cannot hold him and he returns to his mother. When his mother dies soon after, he is alone.
Largely autobiographical its regarding Paul Morel(Lawrence own image) according to readers and critics alike.
I beg to differ slightly.
Yes, Paul Morel is the central character in fact the novel was first named as 'Paul Morel' by Lawrence but its not all about Paul and his Oedipus Complex as people tend to see and refer........ instead it is a poignant story of Gertrude becoming Mrs. Morel ,William and his home environment, the birth of Paul, Miriam's spirituality and Clara's sensuality and how all this together shaped Paul the way he was... and more importantly how a strong character and emotional dependency of a lady affects the lives of all specially her sons as they can not be content with anyone less then their mother.
How they always feel for her as they know that she deserved much better and had wasted her youth and capacity of love,beauty, mind and intellect in trifles and battles ,with a drunk,abusive partner.The boys' hearts bleed for her.
How they could never be content with the superficial(Lily and Clara) but at the same time were unable to surrender to the one who is understanding and able to match the mother (Miriam) as it felt as betrayal , sharing a part of her sons with someone else...
The early life of Mrs. Morel I read through tears and was able to take command over me only after Paul started job and met Miriam. By then I was more or less accustomed to the fate and tidings of Morel family ...... and was bearing patiently whatever destiny and their own nature and actions were offering them.
As for the Oedipus complex..... I know about its mythological origin to which Freud gave the name and it is present in the book .
To me it seems natural to have a protective sort of strong morally binding affection towards a personality whom we think almost ideal yet found him/her denied any fulfilment of desires and simple wishes and constantly struggling to be happy ....when we are capable we will definitely and naturally feel protective towards the person and will be in awe to see that he/she still has excellent faculties of brain, beauty and intellect and is virtuous and spiritual and it will be impossible to place somebody else in that sacred altar .
However in some cases as of Paul Morel the bond of affection and attachment was SO strong and SUFFOCATING as to make him feel guilty for every little pleasure without mother. William was also like that in childhood when he was not able to enjoy the fair after mother left.
The mother herself was not welcoming Miriam,insecure and unhappy ,causing troubles for the sensitive Paul resulting into his tryst with Clara and the final solitude.
Here Mrs. Morel's character had weakness in detesting Miriam. Her heart full of love and affection which was meant for her husband , but had to be showered upon her sons could have been more giving.
Paul could have taken the stand As even after his mother's death he remained alone and unhappy in his loneliness, he is definitely suffering from SOME sort of complex (Oedipus). So the complex is not the feelings but to not let them go.
I found it clean and beautiful and failed to see any opportunity to differ or alter anything from what the author desired to say. Nothing controversial about it!
WHAT STRUCK ME
is the way Nature-landscape, trees, flowers, river, spring and the moon impacts all the characters, their moods and to some extent symbolises their actions throughout the book.
When Mrs. Morel was expecting Paul she went 'out' in nature and felt as if she is melting with it under the August and her face covered with pollens of lilies; it had a calming effect on her.
The flowers touched , felt and smelled by Miriam as if she is 'driving life out of them' ,
the rose-bush he and Miriam watched in perfect harmony , the gay flowers which Paul bring for his Mother, the flowers in the garden of Mrs. Morel, the fir-trees and pines where Paul 'met ' Miriam ,
the scarlet carnations petals on Clara and him ,the flow of river Trent, depicting the turbulence in his relation even with Clara , the Ash-Tree in front of the Morel's home and the Orange moon for Paul's passion . All are easy to see and enhances the depth of the text.
The characters attain transcendence and clarity of thought and psyche` while alone in nature and thus the characters and life in whole is very much influenced by the forces of nature.
What I don't like is the way Paul behaved with Miriam and Clara and confirmed his weakness by sort of poisoning his Mother. Spineless ! (That's why 4.5/5 )
Though the author never claimed Paul having heroic qualities but a person of his sensitivities and calibre could have sorted his psyche` out and collected himself to behave like a Man and live like one.
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