Sons and Lovers Essay

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In the following essay, Beards examines Sons and Lovers within the context of the Bildungsroman, finding this approach best suited to understand the novel's literary aspects and theme of alienation.

There are two traditional approaches to Sons and Lovers, one of which treats the novel as a psychological study, emphasizing particularly Paul's Oedipal complex; the second of which focuses on the autobiographical, exploring the many passages where Lawrence seems to be retelling his own experience fictionally (the scenes of family life, the mining background, Paul and Miriam's relationship.) While the first approach risks reducing the novel to a case history, the second has the danger of undermining Sons and Lovers' effectiveness as fictional vision, turning it instead into a confessional autobiography, and vitiating Lawrence's achievement with plot, symbol, dramatic scene, and invented character. Moreover, these two approaches often join forces, so that autobiography is used to support the...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 5,551 words
(approx. 14 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sons and Lovers Study Guide
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