D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers Examined the Oedipus complex or Mother- Fixation theory of Freud

Sons and Lovers is the masterpiece of D.H. Lawrence which may be said the priest psychoanalytical novel in English. It is in it that for the first time a novelist has practically examined the Oedipus complex or mother fixation theory of Freud. The most striking feature of Lawrence’s characters is the resemblance they bear to their creator. Thus, the protagonist Paul morel in Sons and loves is cruelly a projection of Lawrence himself.

The scene of the novel is set in the mining district. The story also centers on Paul Morel, a coal miner’s son whose mother has great ambitions for him. Walter Morel, the father of Paul morel is a gross and unrefined specimen of humanity. Contrastingly, Mrs. Morel is aglow with the effulgence between these two characters and the impact of this on the life and psychological plane of Paul Morel constitute the motif of the novel. The mother because of her unhappy and satisfactory conjugal life used to exert a very powerful influence upon the son and sought to posses her son fully. Though his other brothers escaped, Paul was throttled by this possessiveness of his mother. His mother wants him to move to London, England, and better himself by becoming an artist instead of a miner like his father. At the same time, she jealously prevents him from maintaining a relationship with a local girl and humiliates her husband, the family’s only breadwinner. After rejecting an offer to go to art school because of his attachment with his mother, Morel finds solace in the arms of a suffragette. 

The mother-image was so pronounced that Paul could not abdicate himself from all engulfing and powerful spell. Paul failed both in uniting with Miriam or Clara in long-lasting bond of love. Despite of sincere love Paul failed as the influence of Paul’s mother precluded the efflorescence of this sacrosanct feeling. The deep-rooted depression and melancholy turned Paul in to a restless being and a complete failure in life. 


(1) What is called Oedipus complex / mother fixation theory?

(2) Is it psychological novel?

Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert,      

     2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature

      3. Microsoft Students’ Encarta

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