Review of Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

First read: Before the list came out (about 1982)
Reviewed on: 8/14/98


I did not like it.
I liked it.
I thought it one of the Best Novels of All Time

This was another book that I read in Ken Mularski's class. The paper I wrote was a satire, that did everything that Mr. Mularski told us not to do when we wrote papers. My thesis was that Sons and Lovers was a book, not a play.

At the time we read this one, I thought it was reasonably enjoyable. There was a good plot, and some sex, too. There were certain touching moments that I remember to this day, such as when the crippled girl tells Paul that she wishes she could walk, "so you would stay home sometimes and be sweet to me, instead of going out and being sweet to other girls." Now that I think about it, that scene might have been from Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund; I can't remember.

I do remember the scene where Paul had sex with a floppy older woman. At the time, I thought it was a good scene, but it didn't really ring true. "Young man has sex with the older woman" is a cliché from the world of books and some films (Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson) but not from real life. Of course, I grew up and had a relationship with a woman who was older than I was. I can safely say that Lawrence had it wrong, as did my teacher and classmates. Age is bunk. Not all women are the same, but the class discussion seemed to imply they were, that Mrs. Whateverhernamewas was somehow representative of "older women" in general. There are physical differences, but it is so silly to generalize: I know some women in their 20s who are in terrible shape, and I know some women in their 50s who are in great shape. What the hell were a bunch of 17 year old high school students and their teacher doing talking about what it was like for Paul, when the only thing we really knew about Mrs. Whateverhernamewas was her age? Wait. That wasn't from Sons and Lovers; it was from Of Human Bondage.

Wow. I guess I don't remember much about Sons and Lovers. Maybe I should reread it.

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