Notes on Sons and Lovers Themes

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Sons and Lovers Topic Tracking: Religion

Religion 1: Paul prays for his mother's safety. In doing so, he prays that his father might be hurt or even killed so that he might never hurt his mother again. Yet guilt washes over him, and then he prays for his father as well. Morel ultimately can never quite get along with his family because he denies any single shred of religion, stability, compassion and love in his soul.

Religion 2: Miriam, who possesses intense piety and religion, believes that her brothers and father are too vulgar, for they have no regard for church or God, whom she loves passionately. She only admires and respects those who attend church and therefore believe in the teachings of God.

Religion 3: Miriam feels so deeply about nature that she is in her own little world of reality. To her, the natural world is a wonderful paradise like the Garden of Eden, and knowledge of the harsh, hateful things in life wrecks the beauty of nature.

Religion 4: Paul is frustrated and angered at the way Miriam devotes herself so deeply and intensely to people, nature or ideas. He asks her in frustration why she feels she has to devote herself so much to whatever he says or does.

Religion 5: The rose-bush Miriam shows to Paul eerily signifies their relationship. That Miriam is intensely loving and warm toward the beautiful, white roses and that Paul feels strangely "imprisoned" by them symbolize their feelings for each other and toward sex with the other. Miriam would devote herself to Paul, who would feel smothered by her intensity.

Religion 6: Miriam prays to God that if He wills her to love Paul, she will undoubtedly follow his words and love Paul as much as she can. She will love Paul if God means for them to love each other. However, she feels ashamed that her feelings for Paul are so open and ardent when her sister chastises her.

Religion 7: Paul declares to Miriam that she is a nun in every sense of their relationship. He has given her everything he possibly could in their relationship except passion. Paul feels that he can never love her in a physical, sexual way because they love each other in a spiritual way, not a passionate way.

Religion 8: Miriam fiercely tells herself that she will devote herself to Paul if their wills wish them to have sex. She tells herself firmly that she will give him the passion he wants and needs, against her wishes. She will sacrifice her virginity for him.

Religion 9: When Miriam and Paul have sex, Paul notices that she looks strangely calm. After they have sex, Miriam decides that she is not ready to give herself sexually to him if he needs her.

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