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Sons and Lovers
D.H. Lawrence




_____ 1. D. H. Lawrence believed that art

    A. exists to inspire humans to higher awareness
    B. exists for its own sake
    C. should depict life as it really is
_____ 2. Sons and Lovers is primarily a novel about
    A. industrial society replacing the old agrarian system
    B. the sexual inhibitions brought about by Victorian morality
    C. the protagonist's struggle between loving his mother and finding a life mate
_____ 3. Paul Morel wants to succeed in art because
    A. he loves creating beauty
    B. it makes Miriam devoted to him
    C. his mother will be proud of his accomplishment
_____ 4. Mrs. Morel hates her husband because
    I. he's a violent, irresponsible alcoholic
    II. he's crude and vulgar
    III. he crushes her hopes for upward mobility
    A. I and II only
    B. III only
    C. I, II, and III
_____ 5. Flowers in Sons and Lovers primarily symbolize
    A. the beauty of nature
    B. a contrast with dirt and drudgery
    C. the sexual and spiritual energy of the life force
_____ 6. Willey Farm is important to Paul because
    A. the combination of nature and mysticism inspires him
    B. he can escape his tormented family there
    C. farm work makes him feel at one with the earth
_____ 7. Mr. Morel becomes increasingly derelict because
    A. he feels like a failure in his own home
    B. drinking makes his hard mining life endurable
    C. he hates his family's cloying middle-class aspirations
_____ 8. Clara leaves her husband chiefly because
    A. he was unfaithful
    B. he can't get to the core of her
    C. she wants to be a liberated, free woman
_____ 9. Mrs. Morel encourages Paul's art
    I. by filling their home with pretty objects and flowers
    II. by teaching him that hard work and perseverance are necessary
    III. in order to counter Miriam's otherworldly influence over him
    A. I and II only
    B. I and III only
    C. I, II, and III
_____ 10. William gets sick and dies because, ultimately,
    A. he's working and playing too hard
    B. he can't win his inner battle between sexual passion and filial devotion
    C. he's prone to attacks of pneumonia

11. Discuss how Mrs. Morel helps and hurts Paul.

12. Consider the character of Mr. Morel and the reasons he develops into such a broken, failed man.

13. What is Lawrence's appraisal of industrialization?


_____ 1. Lawrence was most like Paul Morel in that he

    A. had a hard time with women
    B. was devoted to his mother
    C. loved the English countryside
_____ 2. The horror of industrialism is most devastatingly seen in
    A. Clara's cottage labor as a lace-maker
    B. factory life at Jordan's
    C. Walter's coal-mining activities
_____ 3. The most sexual natural landscape found in Sons and Lovers is
    A. Willey Farm
    B. Nottingham
    C. the river Trent
_____ 4. The contrast of light and dark in Sons and Lovers symbolizes
    A. good and evil
    B. the known and the unknown
    C. good times and bad
_____ 5. Mrs. Morel hates Miriam because
    I. she's jealous of Miriam's influence over Paul
    II. she's convinced Miriam is sucking the life out of her son
    III. Miriam is disrespectful of her
    A. I, II, and III
    B. I and II only
    C. II only
_____ 6. Paul has inherited from his father
    A. an insensitivity to women
    B. a vital love of life
    C. an irresponsible streak
_____ 7. Miriam wants to be educated in order to
    A. get a decent job
    B. distinguish herself from her crude farming environment
    C. make Paul like her more
_____ 8. Paul has inherited from his mother
    A. an appreciation of ideas, nature, and beauty
    B. a drive toward commercial success and social respectability
    C. a hatred of lower-class ideals and amusements
_____ 9. The Morel child who is most like Mr. Morel is
    A. William
    B. Paul
    C. Arthur
_____ 10. When Paul at the end of Sons and Lovers walks "quickly" toward town, it means that he
    A. walks with a vital, lively step
    B. walks as fast as he can
    C. can hardly wait to get there

11. Compare and contrast Baxter Dawes and Walter Morel.

12. Compare Mrs. Morel's feelings for both Miriam and Clara.

13. Discuss how and to what effect Lawrence uses realism in the novel.


  1. A
  2. C
  3. C
  4. C
  5. C
  6. A
  7. A
  8. B
  9. C
  10. B

11. You'll need to show in detail how Mrs. Morel aids Paul's success in life and how she makes it hard for him.

To show how she helps him, you'll want to discuss how she encourages his intellect, his art, and his sense of responsibility. You may want to point to her enthusiasm over his artistic achievements and the way she gently but forcefully makes him seek employment.

To show how she makes life difficult for Paul, you should discuss her possessiveness and jealousy over Miriam. You may also want to demonstrate how she makes him feel guilty for not always being attentive to her and her needs. Two good examples are her reactions when Paul, absorbed in Miriam, lets the bread burn, and when Paul, who has gone off on a holiday with a friend, returns to find her gravely ill.

In your third paragraph, you may want to say whether Mrs. Morel's influence over Paul is ultimately good or bad. While this is solely your own conclusion, use the examples of paragraphs one and two to support your decision.

12. You'll need to spend one paragraph on Mr. Morel's character and social upbringing before he meets and marries Gertrude. Talk about the way he sees life as a moment-to-moment thing, as well as his sensuous liveliness.

Next, explain the various problems that he and Gertrude have because of their different attitudes. Show how they battle over his irresponsibility and drinking. Trace how Morel declines in his ability to stand up for himself against his wife and family.

In your final paragraph, try to decide whether Mr. Morel's deterioration is something he brought upon himself or whether the disapproval of his family played a part in his humiliation.

13. To answer this question, you'll have to decide whether Lawrence thoroughly condemns industrialization or merely wants it to coexist in harmony with nature.

If you decide upon the former view, point to several instances in which industrialization suffocates people or cuts them off from their instinctive natures. The fact that the Bottoms are built impractically for human use is a good defense. Remember that the gardens are placed in the front of the miners' houses, while their lives revolve around the back kitchen, which looks out on a dingy alleyway. Also talk about the scene that shows Clara breaking her back over hours of tedious lace-making. You can even examine how long and grueling Paul's days at Jordan's are.

If you want to prove that Lawrence thought industry and nature should exist harmoniously on equal terms, you'll have to show that he believed there were benefits to industrial life. One example would be the carefree conviviality of the colliers. Even though they work hard, they're honest and jolly. Think also about the medical and educational benefits of the factory system. When Mr. Morel is in the hospital, he has disability insurance of a kind and the family is provided for. Notice, too, that Nottingham, an industrial city, seems glamorous and exciting to the young Paul. Urban industrial life is busy and teeming with stimuli.

You can sum up this argument with Lawrence's overall insistence that while industrialism can bring about economic prosperity and human communality, it should leave a good deal of nature intact so that human beings can feel their connection to the earth.


  1. B
  2. A
  3. C
  4. B
  5. B
  6. B
  7. B
  8. A
  9. C
  10. A

11. First, you'll want to describe how Walter and Baxter are alike physically, emotionally, and socially.

Then you should explain how they're different. A major difference between them is that Baxter seems to be able to work out his problems with Clara, whereas Walter Morel never succeeds in doing this with Gertrude Morel.

It's a good idea to write a final paragraph on the way Paul feels about these two men. Some readers feel that Paul's friendship with Baxter, a man resembling his father, is his way of identifying with or perhaps even trying to understand the father whom he has always hated. By reuniting Clara and Baxter, Paul symbolically reunites his parents, who were torn asunder by Mrs. Morel's total devotion to her sons.

12. The first thing to note is that Mrs. Morel is devoted to her sons, to the point of possessiveness. Once you establish this, analyze thoughtfully her attitude toward Miriam and Clara.

When you discuss Mrs. Morel's attitude toward Miriam, present key scenes such as the one in which she tells Paul the girl will suck the life out of him. Also talk about how unwelcome Gertrude makes Miriam feel in the Morel household.

Show how and why Mrs. Morel is kinder toward Clara. Write about how she lets Clara, unlike Miriam, help clean up after tea. Decide why Clara doesn't threaten Mrs. Morel's relationship to Paul and present evidence that this nonthreatening aspect of Clara makes her more acceptable to Mrs. Morel.

13. To answer this question, you must decide how the detailed realistic scenes of life among the coal- mining families affect you. You'll want to talk about the warmth and clarity with which Lawrence draws the Morel family at home. Two good passages to look at are the scenes when (1) Mr. Morel stays home and the children help him pack fuses and (2) the coal miners divide the week's earnings by the Morel hearth.

Another way to explore this question is to show how Lawrence takes everyday objects and turns them into magical, symbolic ones. A good example of this is the twisting, swirling river Trent and the way its meanderings reflect Clara and Paul's lovemaking and its aftermath. Describe how Lawrence starts such sequences with straightforward realism, which becomes heightened by poetry and then returns to everyday reality.

[Sons and Lovers Contents]


    1. Discuss Paul's conflict between his love for his mother and his relationship with each of his two potential mates, Miriam and Clara.
    2. Discuss Mrs. Morel's relationship with her husband.
    3. Discuss the adolescent love affair of Paul and Miriam.
    4. Compare the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Morel and the one between Clara and Baxter Dawes.
    5. Discuss the relationship between mothers and daughters in Sons and Lovers- in particular, between Mrs. Leivers and Miriam, and between Mrs. Radford and Clara.
    1. Discuss Mrs. Morel. What are her hopes and dreams? What is her character like?
    2. Discuss Paul's self-discovery as an artist and show how this applies to Lawrence's view of the artist's role in society.
    3. Present a word portrait of Clara Dawes. What are her strong points and her weak ones?
    4. What makes Paul heroic? What characteristics make him small and egotistical?
    1. What are the many different symbolisms evoked by flowers? How do flowers figure differently in the fates of the various characters?
    2. What do the coal pits symbolize?
    3. Discuss the significance of the river Trent.
    4. Discuss the "Sleeping Beauty" motif in the novel.
    1. Compare D. H. Lawrence's life to that of his character Paul.
    2. How does Lawrence combine realism and poetry in this novel?
    3. Discuss the significance of the ending of Sons and Lovers.
    4. Discuss the Oedipus complex as it appears in Sons and Lovers.

[Sons and Lovers Contents]


Cover to protect a sofa or chair against a particular hair dressing made of Macassar oil.

Yeast that forms on malt liquor as it ferments.

BERNHARDT, SARAH (1843-1923)
Famous French actress who specialized in tragedy and melodrama.

Local state-run elementary school.

System under which a group of miners received a lump sum for their weekly work, then divided the collective earnings. The butty often worked, played, and drank together.

Order of very austere monks founded in 1086 near Grenoble, France.

CHARLES II (1630-1685)
King of England restored to the throne after the end of Oliver Cromwell's dictatorship.

Sound off.

Bird with a harsh, grating voice, who hides in the high grass or cornfields.

Resold; bartered or exchanged.

Enormously wealthy king in Greek mythology.

Cattle pasture where the grass is eaten down to stubble.

Pits from which miners extract coal.

In Arthurian legend, an Irish princess wed to the king of Cornwall and loved by Tristram. Used by German composer Richard Wagner as example of tragic lovers in his opera Tristan and Isolde.

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1542-1587)
Scottish Queen who claimed the British throne and was beheaded, after years of imprisonment, by Queen Elizabeth I of England.

MICHELANGELO (1475-1564)
Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, and architect.

Small enclosed subdivision of the coal pit assigned to a team of miners.


Impolite term meaning dirty or filthy.

Constellation of stars that looks like a man and his dog. In Greek mythology, Orion was a hunter who pursued the seven daughters of Atlas.

In the ancient Greek poet Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses' wife who patiently spun a tapestry for years while waiting for her husband to return from the Trojan Wars.

Game similar to horseshoes.

Type of dance.

Some impediment that blocks a machine from working properly.


Man's undershirt.

British seaside resort.

Game like bowling, only played with nine pins in a square configuration.

Excessively flattering; cloying; ingratiating.

Bag in which miners kept their lunch.

To burn off.

Slang for buttocks.

VERONESE, PAOLO (1528-1588)
Venetian Renaissance painter.

Medicine made from various sulfates known for being particularly bitter.

Man's vest, pronounced "west-kit" in England.

THE STORY, continued

ECC [Sons and Lovers Contents] []

© Copyright 1985 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
Further distribution without the written consent of, Inc. is prohibited.

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