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Strife in Love Chapter in Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers”


In Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers”, when approaching the title of chapter eight, ‘Strife in love’, it is evident that we will encounter incidents of love in the chapter, that love will be dominant therein, but looking at strife in its independent contextual meaning, then, the kind of love in the text will be subjected to strife as pointed out by the title. Love and strife are a bit weird to share the same literal space, but the happenings in the chapter make it possible; this creates some bit of anxiety for the reader to read and know what is happening in the text.

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Therefore, regarding the chapter, one can say that the title is giving a clue to what will be encountered throughout the chapter because the two major characters in question in the chapter, Paul and Miriam are met with challenges from predominantly Paul’s mother Mrs. Morel (Lawrence 14). On the other hand, Paul and his mother share a kind of love, which will be considered to both, as being subjected to strife by Miriam and therefore, feelings of love in strife or better still strife in love will have come up (Finney14).

Discussion of the Chapter

In the dialogue between Miriam and Paul concerning whether or not Paul likes Clara, there could be brewing strife in the love between Paul and Miriam because apparently, Paul seems to like Clara as this does not go down well with Miriam (Lawrence 61). When Paul explains to Miriam what he likes about Clara, Miriam sulks and withdraws from the conversation. Paul tells her that Clara is too intense and that he longs to kiss her but cannot.

Most likely this can be a bone of contention between two lovers, it cannot be taken lightly by a lady, knowing that the man she loves happens to be attracted to another woman sexually, this therefore can be considered to be a source of differences in a relationship. According to Paul through his words, given a chance, he can kiss Clara which is rather considered an abomination by Miriam. On the other hand, in as much as he could be possibly attracted to Clara, then technically he should have not pointed it out directly to his girlfriend that he is admiring Clara sexually.

Discussion of the Oedipus Complex about the characters

The Oedipus complex theory propagated by Sigmund Freud is evident across the chapter and the text in general. The kind of relationships depicted here more especially the relationship between Mrs. Morel and her son Paul is a bit complex (Kuttner 70), she is so very possessive of him to an extent that she does not approve of the Miriam and Paul affair, thus the conflict of feelings of love as experienced by Paul, towards his mother and Miriam.

This is seen by how Mrs. Morel takes the idea of Miriam and Edgar visiting the family. It so happens that Paul’s mother does not like Miriam and when Paul comes home and tells her that he has invited Miriam and Edgar for tea the following day, it is seen that his mother does not like the idea, which is seen through how she answers him. When Miriam and Edgar finally appear the following day, Paul’s Mother greets Edgar rather cordially but as for Miriam, cold and grudgingly (Kuttner 89) thereafter, Paul feels that he is torn between Miriam and his mother, and this makes him hate her. He does not want anything or anybody to come in between him and his mother.


One day Paul tells Miriam that he is not going to meet her because he considers that which is between them as mere friendship. Miriam is so hurt because this is the man that she loves (Baron 100). This kind of feeling of resentment towards the lady she loves is caused by his mother who has come to occupy a place in his heart that no other woman can. To him, Miriam passes to be seriously spiritual and therefore not fit for him; Clara on the other hand is sizzling. This chapter communicates the results of Mrs. Morel’s complete grip on her sons, most Paul who specifically she has completely taken into her paws (Lawrence, 92).

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This kind of love is rather strange because the aftermath of it all is pain and suffering. A mother’s love for her children begins so early in life because she is the first one to bond with a child, but as a child grows, other people’s love comes into the picture and the bonding of a mother lessen, but in this case, a mother’s love surpasses all and stands in the way for the children’s growth and development from one level to another.

Works Cited

Baron, Helen, “Disseminated Consciousness in Sons and Lovers,” in Essays in Criticism, Vol. 48, No. 4, 1998, pp. 78 – 350.

Finney, Brian. D. H. Lawrence. “Sons and Lovers”. New York. Penguin. 1990. pp. 14.

Kuttner, Alfred, “Sons and Lovers: A Freudian Appreciation,” in The Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. III, No. 3, 1916, pp. 31 – 295.

Lawrence, David. Sons and Lovers, New American Library, 1960, pp. 14, 61, 92.

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