Sons and Lovers Summary
Gertrude Morel has an unhappy marriage to coal-miner Walter Morel within the English town of Bestwood. She is most dedicated to her eldest son, William. Her second, sensitive son, Paul, grows up and works during a factory while painting on the side. William dies of a disease of the skin, and Mrs. Morel plunges into grief. Rededicating her life to Paul revives her, and therefore the two become inseparable.
Paul, now a young man, spends an excellent deal of your time with Miriam Leiver, a chaste, religious girl who lives on a close-by farm. Their Platonic relationship is intense and romantic, but they never approach physical intimacy. Mrs. Morel bitterly dislikes Miriam, feeling she is trying to require her son far away from her. Paul grows interested in Clara Dawes, an older, sensual woman separated from her husband. Finally, Paul and Miriam roll in the hay, but he soon loses interest in her, unwilling to be sure to her in marriage or love.
Paul and Clara roll in the hay and a romance blossoms, but her estranged husband, Baxter Dawes, savagely beats Paul one night. Mrs. Morel develops a tumor and, after an extended struggle, dies. Paul arranges the reunion of Clara and Dawes, whom he has befriended since their fight. Paul and Morel move out of the house to separate locations. Paul feels lost, unable to color any longer. Miriam makes a final appeal to him for love, but he rejects her. He feels suicidal one night, but changes his mind and resolves to not “give into the darkness.”
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