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Sons and Lovers
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Buddy Reads > Sons and Lovers - buddy read

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message 1: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Leni and I will be reading Sons and Lovers throughout the month on July and probably August. We plan on reading 2 chapters per week (there are 15 in total), but we'll see how we get on. Everyone is welcome to join :)


message 2: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I've read the first chapter and enjoyed it immensely. It does exactly what the title says and introduces us to 'The early married life of the Morels'. Spoilers ahead for the first chapter.

Gertrude Morel seems to have felt jilted by her previous love interest, then had her head turned by Walter Morel, who made her smile, though not dance. They're certainly an ill match, as he seems beneath Gertrude, but they don't make life easy on each other. I like the depictions of their simmering hatred towards one another, it makes me wonder how she's managed to get pregnant for the third time! As for Gertrude's mothering skills, they seem a bit claustrophobic already. The episode with William's first haircut was a bit over the top, whereas the baby being hit by his father was hardly dwelt upon. A sign of the times I suppose, though Morel hasn't been physically violent to his wife, which I was half expecting. Admittedly being shoved out in the cold night while pregnant isn't exactly loving behaviour from her drunkard husband. I'm not sure if he's supposed to be any worse than other husbands, or if it's just an ill match, but neither of them are very likeable at the moment.


Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I've just read the first chapter too, and it was such a positive surprise! Not a loin in sight, just drunkenness, bitterness, and marriages gone wrong. And such beautiful, entertaining language. I highlighted so many passages!

Since the book started out as a more or less autobiographical account, with the third, so far unborn child, as D.H. Lawrence's alter ego, and Lawrence apparently adored his mother, loathed his father and thought she married far beneath her, I'd say we're supposed to sympathise with the mother. And I do to some extent.

Discovering that your husband has lied to you about his financial situation, and that you are in fact in debt, while expecting a child... what a horrible situation! But there's no denying that she is ill equipped to deal with the life she has entered into. They are both just making everything worse all the time. (And yes, the botched haircut of a two year old is a more traumatic event for her than the newborn being hit for crying?!)

I'm looking forward to the next chapter. That's a first for me with this author!


message 4: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I think we're definitely supposed to sympathise with the mother, but I'm grateful that she hasn't been painted as perfect either.

I'm glad you enjoyed the first chapter too! Let's hope this continues.


Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Chapter two, the birth of Paul - the dysfunctional marriage makes them both dysfunctional as parents and as people. They are both bitter and unlikable, but I find the writing excellent and highly likeable.


message 6: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I haven't read the second chapter yet, I made myself put it down, as I didn't want to get ahead of our 2 chapters a week, but I'm itching to pick it up again! If it continues to be such as easy and enjoyable read we can probably speed it up a bit. I'll read some more tomorrow, I'm looking forward to the dysfunction! .


Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Yes, I was thinking the same. I do have some other books to attend to this weekend, but it also doesn't look like chapter 3 is all that long. Heh. We can see how we feel next week. I guess the focus will switch to the children once they grow up a bit, and who knows if they will be as entertainingly bleak and bitter as their parents.


message 8: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Oh I hope the children are as bleak. Surely they'll be warped characters. I also have lots of other books on the go, but hopefully I'll get some finished this weekend.


Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Chapter 3. William grows up and starts to earn a living. Mother has trouble letting go. So far he seems fairly well adjusted. Hard working, studious, a bit of a flirt but hey he's a teen! I thought the mother was a bit of a hypocrite objecting to the girls he met at dances, because didn't she meet his father at a dance? But then, a love of dancing is seemingly the only thing William has in common with his father, and she doesn't want him to be anything like his father at all. No danger there so far. William seems to have none of his father's insecurities (although he might have his temper, actually), and all the kids are, I believe the phrase was, "rabid teetotallers". Next chapter: Paul growing up. (Will probably read that tomorrow or the next day.)


message 10: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Oh, and the first page of the chapter cracked me up. The kids aren't just rabid teetotallers, they refuse anything the father is drinking. And with good reason! Wormwood infusions hardly sound like a good thing. And I looked up "elixir of vitriol". It's diluted sulphuric acid! :-/


message 11: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Sorry, I haven't picked this up all week, I've been sucked back into The Count of Monte Cristo and trying to get that finished when I've had time to read. I'm going to catch up with Sons and Lovers today. I'll report back later!


message 12: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Quite understandable! I'm about halfway through chapter 4 and will read the rest today. So far two chapters a week seems to be the right pace.


message 13: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I've just started chapter 3, hmm elixir of sulphuric acid doesn't sound so appealing. Oh and there's another baby! I didn't see that coming, I thought after the violent episode with the drawer they'd have finally left each other alone, I suppose Morel's illness gave them a reprieve from their hatred and reminded them of earlier happier times, to an extent. That already seems over with again. I'm intrigued by the title of this chapter....The casting off of Morel....wondering if this means that she gets rid of him for good.


message 14: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments She can't get rid of Morell. She has no independent income. Her family was of a somewhat higher class, but her father lost all his money.

I've just finished chapter 4. I won't say too much about it, just that it has some dreary moments, and others that are positively cheerful and harmonious! I was well surprised.


message 15: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Exactly, I didn't think she had any means to get rid of Morel, as she'd have no income otherwise, but I wondered what was meant be the title, casting him off.


Tahera | 46 comments Pink wrote: "I've just started chapter 3, hmm elixir of sulphuric acid doesn't sound so appealing. Oh and there's another baby! I didn't see that coming, I thought after the violent episode with the drawer they..."

What it basically means is that Mrs. Morel begins to consider William to be the 'man' of the family and the man in her life....


message 17: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I saw it more like the whole family shutting him out, mentally and emotionally. He is there physically, when he's not in the pit or out drinking, but he's not really part of the family.


message 18: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Yes I think it's like she's finally given up on him and shut him out emotionally, if not physically.


message 19: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Finally an update from me!

I've finished chapters 4 and 5. William has left his Mother and seems to be caught up in his new life (and love) so she's feeling a bit left out. Actually, more than a bit, I think she's pining for him. Luckily Paul is filling his place and playing the doting son, who'll always stay with his Mother. I'm not convinced things will stay that way. Although he is super sensitive and shy, so on the one hand it's hard to imagine him doing well with any girls, but on the other hand he's a huge hit with all the factory girls he works with! I felt sorry for Morel after his accident and in general. He's not a very nice character, but I can't help feeling that the family ostracising him hasn't helped, although I guess they didn't feel inclined to keep him included in their family time, as he was often down the pub anyway!

I'm still enjoying the book. I'm going to read chapter 6 sometime this week, it has an ominous title, A death in the family and I'm not sure who it's going to be. That will be the conclusion of book 1, so I'm assuming the next part deals with the children when they've grown up some more. There have already been some big time jumps in the book. We seem to get a whole chapter spent on the events of a few days, then a couple of sentences skip years of time. I like how Lawrence occasionally alludes to future events, like mentioning how Paul is to stay at his work place for years, so we often get a small taste of things to come.


message 20: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Considering the title of the book, I figure in part 1 they are mainly sons and in part 2 we meet the boys as lovers. So we might get to the loins at last! Lol

And you have now reminded me that I have chapter 5 and 6 to read this week.


message 21: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Ah the loins! Yes I suppose we should have at least a glimpse of these!

I read chapter 6! It was a bit intense! I won't say any more until you've read it.


message 22: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I've read them now, and wow. I didn't expect that particular death. He seemed the healthiest of the lot!


message 23: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I know! I thought perhaps the girl, or the youngest would die, as they've been in the book the least, but no he killed off the mothers favourite! Im not sure if this echoes his real life, as so far, so much of it is autobiographical. I keep stopping myself from looking up information about Lawrence's life as it feels like they'd all be plot spoilers for this book.

I liked the aunt's comment about Paul's illness saving the mother. I thought that was true as she was losing all interest in life and needed something to rouse her back to the living.


message 24: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Chapter 7, Lad-and-girl love

That was quite a long chapter about the blossoming love of Paul and Miriam. I thought by the end of it they'd have confessed their love for one another, but it doesn't look like things are heading that way at the moment. Mrs Morel doesn't seem like she'll be happy with anyone for her darling son.


message 25: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments No, Mrs Morel is going to be the mother-in-law from hell! Her attachment seems a bit unhealthy. All relationships of any kind in this book seem a bit unhealthy. There are just no good family dynamics so far.

Miriam... I had a certain sympathy for her at first. Wanting to learn things and resenting being limited by her sex. But I've also been rolling my eyes a lot at her fervent purity and spirituality. I keep reminding myself that she's a teenager, so some excess of emotion and self-consciousness is normal. But still... she's grown up on a farm, but she hates the "coarseness" of life so much that she'd be mortified if someone mentioned the mare being with foal? That just made me laugh. It's like something out of an early Victorian novel about upper class maidens. Then again, Miriam is fond of reading Walter Scott. I guess she's trying to emulate the heroines of that era?

Uh, and Paul as a teacher... poor Miriam. Honestly, the whole lot of them seem emotionally rather unstable!


message 26: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Yep I agree, they're all emotionally unstable. Since the book is so autobiographical I'm feeling sorry for Lawrence, what must his Mother have been like! Although Mrs Morel in her older years is reminding me quite a bit of my Nan, she had a weird controlling relationship with her children, especially the eldest boy who was always pandered to and of course no girl was ever good enough for him.

Miriam was frustrating for me, not so much for her piety, more for her inability to realise and admit her love, but then Paul was worse! I keep reminding myself how chronically shy and sensitive he was as a child, so it's no surprise really that he's incapable of expressing his emotions with Miriam. The only thing they're all good at is loving nature.


message 27: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Chapter 8 - Strife in love

The whole chapter felt a bit disjointed to me. Arthur and Annie both got very brief mentions. Paul and Miriam continue to be sexually frustrated and yet neither admits their feelings. This seemed to drag on and the last few pages were suffoctingly intense.


message 28: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Leni, have you read chapter 8 yet? I haven't tackled chapters 9 and 10 for this week yet. Are you enjoying the book still?


message 29: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I was just about to come here to admit that I have fallen behind a bit! I plan on at least starting chapter 8 this evening. I'm glad you haven't read 9 and 10 yet. But yes, as of the end of chapter 7 I am still enjoying the book. (Although I hope that the whole rest of the book isn't going to be Paul and Miriam not getting it on while Mrs Morel looks disapprovingly at them!)


message 30: by Pink, Old School Classics (last edited Aug 03, 2017 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I was kind of holding off until I knew you'd read chapter 8. How about you catch up with that one this week and we can discuss it over the weekend? Then we can read chapters 9 and 10 next week. They're a little bit longer, so I don't want to have to race through them for no reason. I'm still enjoying it too, but Paul, Miriam and Mrs Morel are getting a little tiresome. Although I do love how dysfunctional they are!


message 31: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Yes, that sounds great. I have a couple of library books to return, so I had to divert attention a bit!


message 32: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Don't worry, I have loads of other books to be getting on with too!


message 33: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Alright, I've read chapter 8 now. I'm sure I can manage chap. 9 this weekend! I'm rather intrigued by the title. Will Paul give up on Miriam? Will his mother start falling down with ill health every time she is near, so that Paul will feel he has to give her up?

Miriam seems to precious for this world. And not in a good way. She reads crudeness, cruelness, and danger into anything that isn't pure spiritual harmony. Maybe a convent would be the best place for her, at least for a while.

I got a bit of a chuckle out of Arthur impulsively joining the army just because a friend did so. And then crying to his mother for help undoing his mistake. I wonder how military life will affect him. Any wars we might lose him to? I'm not entirely sure what years we are in, but since this novel is at least somewhat autobiographical, and D.H. Lawrence was born in 1885... we would be in 1907 at this stage? So the Boer war is over and WW1 is years off, the triple entente just forming.


message 34: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
That's a good point about the year it's set! Lawrence wrote it in 1913, so in the back of my mind I keep thinking about the war that he didn't know was coming. Obviously we're covering quite a wide range of time, since Paul was born and now he's about 21, so I guess we're roughly following Lawrence's own timeline.

Arthur could definitely be lost in a war, as he's such a non-character, but then William was our main character and he got killed off quickly!

I'll read chapter 9 this weekend. I'm also intrigued by the chapter titles and resisting looking up the later titles for a clue of what's to come! I don't know if I'd like Paul and Miriam to get together or part ways, though I'm not sure who'd be escaping from whom at this point. Maybe both from Mrs Morel? That doesn't seem very likely!


message 35: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I've read chapter 9 now. A couple of small surprises there! Mainly provided by Mrs Morel.


message 36: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Surprises by Mrs Morel? Now I'm intrigued. I'll try to read chapter 9 today :)


message 37: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Just remembered I forgot to update the other day. I finished chapter 9 and things have kind of moved on with Paul and Miriam, but not much. At least they discussed the possibility of getting engaged, but both decided it isn't what they want, even though it seems like it is! What surprised you about Mrs Morel? Was it her suggestion for Paul to get engaged or stay away from Miriam? I don't think she'd really have wanted that and probably called his bluff, knowing that would make him leave Miriam alone.


message 38: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments No, I was surprised that she wasn't opposed to what's her name... the woman who is separated or divorced. I didn't expect that to be good enough for her Paul. She seems to just really dislike Miriam! So I'm sure that talk about them getting engaged was just a bluff, yes. Or at least an attempt to move away from the status quo, in any direction.

I was also a bit surprised that she bought Arthur out of the military. Although I suppose I'm mostly surprised that she had the savings for it!

I don't think Mrs. Morel will last much longer. She seems ill. And wasn't there a mention in one of the first chapters about the length of her life? I think I calculated that she wouldn't get too old.


message 39: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I think I must have skimmed over her feelings about Clara but I agree she's so anti Miriam that nobody else even really figures.

I was also surprised that she could afford to buy Arthur out of the army, I thought she was always poor and struggling, except when William first helped her out. I wonder how she squirrelled any money away to save. I'm also wondering at this point how Mr Morel is still surviving, though I suppose he's a bit like an old workhorse. I don't know which ones likely to go first, as I can't remember if this is mentioned, but surely both their time is almost up.


message 40: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I've read chapter 10 now. I sort of thought that Paul was moving on from Miriam, but he seems unable to let go. In one way it's really nice to read about a young man who believes that friendship between men and women is possible, but I can't help thinking that the author disagrees with his character. Paul has superficial flirty relationships with the women he supervises at work, and then there's his friendships with Miriam and Clara. He loves Miriam, but they've made it this spiritual thing where physical contact becomes impossible. So instead he lusts after Clara, but tell himself that he doesn't.

You have to wonder about his choice in women. Both of these women have their emotions all tangled up in a tight knot inside, and Paul lacks both the inclination and skill to untangle them. Which means that he doesn't have to untangle his own feelings either. His mother is his best friend, but that's an uneasy relationship too.

Chapter 11 looks like it might have some action. Or at least the beginnings of a resolution. But I've thought that before. LOL


message 41: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Hmm interesting. It seems more and more like Lawrence has some very confused ideas about sexual relationships, though I'm not entirely surprised. Wasn't he later impotent while his wife had numerous affairs? Or maybe this is an exaggeration. This is heavy on spiritual feelings with lots of repressed sexuality, perhaps he's saving it all up for Lady Chatterley!


message 42: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Pink wrote: "Hmm interesting. It seems more and more like Lawrence has some very confused ideas about sexual relationships, though I'm not entirely surprised. Wasn't he later impotent while his wife had numerou..."

I think I might have to read a biography on Lawrence! (Not while we're still reading Sons and Lovers though. I don't want spoilers or false expectations!)


message 43: by Pink, Old School Classics (last edited Aug 10, 2017 01:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Exactly my thoughts too! At first I looked up some facts about Lawrence, just on Wikipedia, but I had to stop doing even that.

There are a series of Oxford University lectures online about Lawrence, I watched them a couple of years ago and found them interesting, though very in depth.


message 44: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Oh, I'll have to have a look for those!


message 45: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars


message 46: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments Pink wrote: "Here's a link https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/dh-l..."

Thank you! Bookmarked for when we finish the book.


message 47: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
I've finished chapters 10 and 11. The title made me laugh- The test on Miriam- he certainly did have a test with her! No loins though. Nor do I think it will be the last of her. I suspect it will be Clara's turn next, or perhaps he'll find a new girl for a while. One thing that surprised me was the mention of Clara's husband, I thought he was dead, not that she'd left him, so I must have remembered this wrong!


message 48: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I think Clara's husband was working at the factory too. And there's a woman mentioned that he's going out with since Clara left him. Possibly also from the factory. Maybe not, since it's not brought up after Clara returns to work there.

I'll read the Paul tests Miriam chapter tonight.


message 49: by Pink, Old School Classics (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pink | 5639 comments Mod
Yes that sounds vaguely familiar! A bit more was revealed in this chapter. One line a couple of pages in made me laugh, "Mrs Morel saw him going again frequently to Miriam, and was astonished." I bet she was!


message 50: by Leni (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leni Iversen (Leniverse) | 998 comments I've read it now. I feel a certain sympathy for Mrs. Morel now. I don't think I've had much sympathy for her since the first chapter. lol
But here she is, one son dead, one gone and married, her husband completely alienated, and her remaining son who she used to be close to now treats her like a servant. She cooks and cleans for him, and he just walks around sullenly, not talking to her, pursuing a woman who just makes him tenser and more unhappy. It's like he's 16, not 23!

Do you think Miriam is asexual? Or is she just petrified with religion and her mother's bad experiences? I'm starting to think that she is asexual. That would explain a lot, I think. I'm not really familiar enough with the orientation to know, but from what little I do know Miriam seems to fit the bill.


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