The Personality of Paul Morel in D. H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers"

"When Eve ate this particular apple, she became aware of her own womanhood, mentally. And mentally she began to experiment with it. She has been experimenting ever since. So has man. To the rage and horror of both of them."-
D. H. Lawrence (1885 - 1930)

Introduction: Paul Morel, a coal miner’s son in D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913) whose mother has great ambitions for him, was ‘caught between two worlds' quite early in life. As a result of discord and strife between his parents, the home environment was uncongenial and agonizing, and this put an excessive emotional strain on the growing child. He was pale and sickly, and had frequent fits of depression and melancholy, and would weep without cause. The father would come home drunk and would often give a black eye to the mother. Paul would lie awake in his bed attentive, listening to every sound, praying for the safety of his mother and guessing as to what his father will do next. The silence terrified him all the more, for it seemed to him to be the silence of blood. The result was that became neurotic hypersensitive introvert, who shrank form least contact with the outside world.

Lacking Responsibility and Unsatisfactory Emotional Adjustment: The more Paul grows up, the more he hides his face. it is torture for him to go to the co-operative office to look up the 'wants column' in news papers, or to go out to collect his father's wages. It is his mother who launches him into life and takes him to Jordon’s factory’s he goes through agonies of self-consciousness, he remains tongue-tied, cannot write or answer a single question, and it is sheer good luck that he is appointed.

One feels that life is too large for this neurotic and he will never be able to shoulder the responsibilities of his life. As the matters get more worse, his mother turns to him for emotional fulfillment and makes him husband-substitute. Excessive mother-love makes him incapable of reaching satisfactory emotional adjustments with any other woman. All his life he wants to be mothered, taken care of and wants some one to shoulder the responsibility of his life. The feelings of sincerity and fear over-power him so much so that his is the mother the very pole and axis of his life.

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A Failure of Two Relations:  It is the irony of fate which faces this neurotic in situations and circumstances much larger than him self. Much has been made of Miriam’s spirituality other being a 'mystic nun', and it is forgotten that Paul himself is responsible to a very great extent, for the failure of their relationship. Miriam loves him heart and soul. He is her prayer, and she awakens the artist in him into life. She gives him her own soul, and even sacrifices herself to him. But Paul does not give himself wholly to her. He can give to her only half to himself, because the other half to him belongs to his mother. Thus the inadequacy lies in Paul. As regards physical relationship, the inadequacy lies in Paul too. He once confesses to his sweet heart that he can give her only friendship and not physical love. Thus Miriam's love for Paul is true, sincere and intense, but he fails to rise to the height of it. It makes too large a demand on him, and he fails.
Paul remains equally inadequate in his relationship with Clara Paul nurtures the same physical failures and love-making farcical. Dissatisfied with his lack of response, Clara turns to her husband Baxter Dawes, who is a real he-man and who can give to her what Paul has failed to give her. The confined spirit of freedom, spontaneity, relaxation and gaiety gains a reverse swing once again. Thus Paul fails to face and enter into satisfactory relationship either with Miriam or Clara. Life is too larger for this 'neurotic boy' who never matures into a man, and who always wants to be mothered and taken care of. 
Conclusion: Lawrence has delineated the character of Paul comprehensively. Paul occupying the major space in the novel sons and lovers runs parallel to his mother, though intercepted by the love for Miriam and Clara. Speaking psychologically the study of Paul is the study of psychic trauma at certain stages and against which he recoils seeking new compensation.   

   Ardhendu De