A situation in life when you are so close to your mother, so influenced by her presence that it in a way makes you suffocate in your other relationships with women-- This is the story of Paul Morel and his mother Gertrude Morel.
A woman who belongs to a Puritan family atmosphere, marries a coal miner Walter Morel-- whose earthly liveliness is in stark contrast to the Puritan atmosphere of her home. She couldnot adjust to Morel's coal miner nature which was- drink and be merry and resisted her efforts to change him.
Gertrude now focuses all her energies on her children, also intellectually focusing on Woman's Co-operative guild.
She wants her children to grow above the class that she has given them birth in. This is the reason why her elder son Walter goes to London to help the family financially but dies there. Mrs Morel is terribly shocked. So when Paul too falls ill, she nurses him back to health, and puts the onus of her aspirations on him.
Later Paul falls in love with Miriam Leivers, a reserved and spiritual young woman. Gertrude, unable to tolerate the closeness between the two, becomes over possessive of Paul. Paul and Miriam are not able to take the relationship onwards. Later Paul falls in love again with a married woman Clara Dawes and also shares a close relationship with her husband Baxter. He later becomes a close friend to both.
Mrs. Morel gets sick, suffering a long and painful illness, which Paul ends by giving her Morphin. She died and Paul now is determined to start his life afresh.
The novel is said to be autobiographical in nature. Paul is the painter in the book, not a novelist but the parallels between Paul and Lawrence's own life are unavoidable.
Lawrence's father was a coal miner and his mother a former school teacher, and he was often sick, much like Paul in the novel.
Although Lawrence was the kind of novelist who would not shy away from sex and swear words in his novels, it is interesting to know that fathers would not let their daughters read his novels in those times. But if you really like Lawrence, this is a must read. Sons and Lovers will always be in my list of favorite books.