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CAPE Literatures in English

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  CAPE Literatures In English Prose Class Assignment Teacher: Ms.Edwards Student: Toni-Ann Morrison Due Date: November 14, 2014 Instruction: Describe the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Morel and their children. Use evidence from the text to support your beliefs about why their relationships are this way. Sons and Lover’s  by D.H. Lawrence reveals the complex, perplexing and seemingly inevitable dysfunctional relationships between the characters in the novel. Throughout the novel the author does an exceptional job at revealing to the reader,   the interior emotions of each character, the dysfunctional relationships existing among the Morels revealing the Oedipus Complex, which is blatant throughout the novel and the order of the day in 19 th  century England-the subject matter of miners. Interestingly Lawrence ‘s  novel contrasts the sensuous natural environment with that of cold, drab structures of industrial town and city life. Subsequently a detailed examination of the relationships will portray the inner life of the characters through their contact with the life outside. Gertrude and Walter ought to complement one another with their very different  positive points, but in fact they, like the lower and middle classes, can‘t get along. In Sons and Lovers, the lower class‘s hatred of snobbery and  phony morality and the middle class‘s concern with mone y and social advancement cause Gertrude and Walter to come to blows. The problems and the misery involved in the life of a coal miner are highlighted through Walter Morel and his harrowing experiences. His wife Gertrude actually belonged to a lower middle class family   but by choosing Walter as her husband she too gets stuck in the working class, where she is far from contented. Their living conditions are miserable and pathetic in spite of the early excitement that they find in their marriage. Both were infatuated with each other before their marriage. Gertrude especially was greatly fascinated by Walter Morel‘s carefree ways and the ease with which he approached life. The working class atmosphere and the life of a coal miner was totally new to her and she like a typical middle class orthodox woman, was completely bowled over by the instinctiveness and spontaneity, which are characteristics of the working class. When Gertrude Coppard was twenty-three, she met the twenty-seven year old Morel who was extremely handsome and in her words, ―had that rare th ing, a rich, ringing laugh.... He was so full of colour and animation, he was so ready and  pleasant with everybody...soft, non-intellectual, warm, a kind of gamboling. She thought him rather wonderful, never having met anyone like him.‖ I n the  beginning even when they were lovesick, Gertrude knew perfectly well that Morel‘s values and preferences were totally different from those she were used to. ―She was a puritan like her father, high minded and really stern.‖ But in the initial excitement this difference seemed rather thrilling and adventurous. It was like the strong, irresistible pull that two opposites felt towards each other ―Therefore the dusky golden softness of this man‘s se nsuous flame of life, that flowed off his flesh like the flame from a candle, not baffled and gripped into incandescence by thought and spirit as her life was, seemed to her something wonderful, beyond her.‖ Gertrude also equally fascinated Walter Morel be cause of her sophistication and lady-like behaviour, which were beyond her grasp and expectations. Nevertheless they were married and led a happy life for the first nine months. The circumstances, the surroundings and the people were alien and hostile to h er but ―she could perfectly live by herself, so long as she had her husband close.‖ But this bliss of togetherness did not last long enough to keep their marriage going. Their differences began to show up when Mrs. Morel started being conscious of her superior class than that of her husband. She was a woman who was interested in reading and longed to have constructive arguments on religion, philosophy and  politics with any educated man. Given such a mindset Morel was the wrong man for her. ―...she tried to  open her heart seriously to him. She saw him listen  deferentially but without understanding. This killed her efforts at a finer intimacy, and she had flashes of fear.‖ This explains her later fondness for the congregational clergy man Mr. Heaton and the urge for educating her child ren. Morel‘s zest for outdoor life and his work culture punctuated by a drink is not appreciated by Mrs. Morel and with her education and refinement she vainly expects her husband to be her equal. Later also it is said that with her high moral sense and religious instinct she was too much his opposite. When the poverty of the family too started revealing itself to Mrs. Morel, her disillusionment with him began to take a concrete shape. It culminated in her complete estrangement with him. The spark was ignited when Morel cropped her first  born William‘s beautiful curly ha ir and after that incident she almost ―ceased to fret for his love‖ and reduced him to the status of an ‗outsider.‘ Walter   Morel ceases to be the caring husband either. His callousness goes to the extent of throwing her out when she was pregnant. In spite of the poverty and difficulty in making ends meet, Morel continues with his drunken reveries and fails to care for the family in any way. Even after becoming a family man, he comes across as a working class man who is irresponsible, careless and fun loving. He is, at one level, a man broken by an uncaring, brutal industrial system. However, Gertrude finds herself intellectually, socially and emotionally defeated and betrayed. When the novel begins their relationship is more or less over. She had kind of got used to her lonely life and her only hopes, if any, rested on her growing children. So it is understandable enough that she turns to her children, Sons mainly, for comfort, hope and companionship. Thus we can say that it is the working class conditions, doubled with the failure of Walter-Gertrude relationship that contributes to the psychological and Oedipal theme of the novel. This key relationship, which falls into pieces because of proletarian poverty and misery, determines the other relationships in the novel, whether they are mother-son, father-son or man-woman relations. The Beginning of the Oedipus complex appearing in William and Paul is exemplified in the relationship between the parents. The boys witness an abusive marriage in which Walter Morel often comes home drunk after squandering the family‘s income ga mbling. All of this causes the boys to hate their father and be sympathetic and protective towards their mother. In their mothe, the children see someone who is good and pure. She in turn keeps her sons all to herself from their  father. By this act, Gertude Morel I unconsciously molding her sons into what she wants, so eventually they can take the place of her husband. She is clearly unhappy in her marriage, so she tries to live vicariously through her sons. This is the stimulus that allows the oedipal attachment to form in the two boys.  William is the oldest son and the mother‘s favorite. He does ever  ything he can to  please her. Sibling rivalry exists between William and Paul as they compete for their mother‘s affection. Mrs. Morel becomes jealous of William‘s female companions and he eventually moves to London. William‘s moving to London was his unconscious way of trying to break free from the oedipal attachment to his mother. In London, William meets a girl by the name of Lily. They become engaged but William is not happy. He has a misogynistic attitude towards her. It is very clear Lily does not possess the good qualities he sees in his mother and it angers and frustrates him. William exhibits classic symptoms of displacement. When William voices his dissatisfaction with Lily, his mother asks him to reconsider marrying her. He responds, ―Oh well, I‘ve  gone too far to break it off now (Lawrence 130). These conflicted feelings that William is experiencing are a sign of his apparent struggle to rid himself of the oedipal fixation and the reader is not surprised when William eventually gets sick and dies. After William dies, Paul takes his place as his mother‘s favorite. By her actions, one would think she thought of him as a suitor. This is evident when she accepts a  bottle of perfume spray from him. ―Pretty!‖ she said in a curious tone, of a woman accepting a love-token (Lawrence 69). As Paul reaches adulthood, it is quite evident the Oedipus complex has taken him over. His relationship with his father is strained and he becomes jealous of him. He even asks his mother not to sleep with the father anymore (Lawrence 215). By applying psychoanalytic criticism to Sons and Lovers, one can gain a better understanding of the text. What may at first look like unbelievable behaviors can  be understood and recognized by using this type of criticism. Psychoanalysis adequately explains the relationships within the Morel family. It also allows us to see the Oedipus complex, which is so blatant throughout Sons and Lovers.
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