Sons & Lovers

ISBN: 1593080131

Sons & Lovers is the story of the Morel family set in early 20th century England, during a time when seemingly every child was born “frail.” The father is a coal miner and alcoholic who mistreats his wife. The kids, in response, come to hate him and develop a strong attachment to their mother. The beginning of the story shows how a marriage that began with love can devolve into tension and hatred. There is almost no action. Instead we get slices of family life and the individual problems that the characters faced. The writing is floral:

Paul hurried off to the station jubilant. Down Derby Road was a cherry tree that glistened. The old brick wall by the Statues ground burned scarlet, spring was a very flame of green. And the steep swoop of highroad lay, in its cool morning dust, splendid with patterns of sunshine and shadow, perfectly still. The trees sloped their great green shoulders proudly; and inside the warehouse all the morning, the boy had a vision of spring outside.


She searched earnestly in herself to see if she wanted Paul Morel. She felt there would be some disgrace in it. Full of twisted feeling, she was afraid she did want him. She stood self-convicted. Then came an agony of new shame. She shrank within herself in a coil of torture. Did she want Paul Morel, and did he know she wanted him? What a subtle infamy upon her! She felt as if her whole soul coiled into knots of shame.


He courted her now like a lover. Often, when he grew hot, she put his face from her, held it between her hands, and looked in his eyes. He could not meet her gaze. Her dark eyes, full of love, earnest and searching, made him turn away. Not for an instant would she let him forget. Back again he had to torture himself into a sense of his responsibility and hers. Never any relaxing, never any leaving himself to the great hunger and impersonality of passion; he must be brought back to a deliberate, reflective creature. As if from a swoon of passion she called him back to the littleness, the personal relationship. He could not bear it.

There was no lead-up to big events. One character was having dinner, then suddenly realized he loved a girl with all his soul. Another character had an itchy rash. And then he was dead (lol). It gave the book emotionally distant timbres, where you could understand the characters, but didn’t care if they died. In fact, you hoped for death because it would give the mossy plot some excitement. After a while, I began to get the feeling that the book was written for suffragists and unsatisfied housewives of the time. Men are portrayed as mule-like and erratic while women are always suffering at the whims of men. The only favorable character, Paul Morel, is portrayed as a sensitive artist who deeply loves his mum.

Paul develops an Oedipus Complex, thanks to a mother who makes him feel guilty for giving more attention to other women than her. She never approves of the girls he courts, applying subtle but disturbing manipulation. It causes Paul to develop like a woman with emotions that rapidly vacillate for no reason that the reader can discern. This book could easily be renamed “I Got Mommy Issues” or “Build-A-Beta.”

“I do like her,” he said, “but—”

“Like her!” said Mrs Morel, in the same biting tones. “it seems to me you like nothing and nobody else. There’s neither Annie, nor me, nor anyone now for you.”

“What nonsense, mother—you know I don’t love her—I—I tell you I don’t love her—she doesn’t even walk with my arm, because I don’t want her to.”

“Then why do you fly to her so often!”

“I do like to talk to her–I never said I didn’t. But I don’t love her.”

“Is there nobody else to talk to?”

“Not about the things we talk of. There’s lots of things that you’re not interested in, that—”

“What things?”

Mrs Morel was so intense that Paul began to pant.

Though Paul constantly sought the approval of his mother, he somehow found himself in a love triangle of sorts with two beautiful women. Ironically, it’s his female-like emotions that made him more attractive in their eyes. He’s constantly hating something or another. He “hated” her because she looked at him weird. He “hated” the selfish part of her. In fact, the word “hate” comes up 125 times, while love shows up 364 times. No one has emotions that extreme. It was silly.

Recklessness is almost a man’s revenge on his woman. He feels he is not valued, so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether.

Back in the day before no-fault divorce, a woman paid the price if she chose the wrong man. It’s obvious why a movement of female emancipation had much appeal, but over-treating the illness, as we have done, will cause side-effects from the medicine to be worse than the disease. While the Morel family wasn’t entirely happy, the children were instilled with traditional values that went on to aid them in adulthood. None of them took on a life of crime, homosexuality, or procreation out of wedlock. I fail to see the problem of not having a perfectly utopian family life over single mom households and bastardization.

This book has reinforced my suspicion that classic literature is often nothing more than code for “heavy description, heavy character development, little action.” It’s not too often that I’m in the mood for a story that doesn’t move. The book was competently written, but nothing would be lost by skipping it.

Read More: “Sons & Lovers” on Amazon

29 thoughts on “Sons & Lovers”

  1. I love classic literature, but you have to read the right stuff. In fact, I tried reading this within the year myself and abandoned it about halfway through. If you want the quintessential classical alpha novel read “A Hero of Our Time” by Lermontov.

    1. As a teenager I think I’ve read every Russian writer from the 1800’s. But most novels written in past generations are difficult for a modern reader to understand unless he is very well read and also older and more experienced in life. A young person regardless of how intelligent he may be would simply not understand many of these books or the times they were written in. People really haven’t changed much but the way they express themselves may have a bit. Most of these novels were written for the middle and upper classes not the puritanical plebes who just like today never read any real book. The writing was more refined and subtle but the readers knew damn well what the author was saying.

      1. I’ve noticed that from re-reading Brave New World. I first read it during my teens as a science fiction novel, and you can certainly read it that way. But now I realize that Aldous Huxley incorporated a lot of what educated opinion in the first 30 years of the 20th Century held about the defects of “modernity.” It really needs to come out in an annotated edition to explain the allusions to the thinking of H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, T.S. Eliot, psychologist John B. Watson and others.
        Huxley also showed keen observation about the long-term trend in female behavior. It wouldn’t take much to update the vacuous, promiscuous character Lenina Crowne by giving her a smart phone to wear on her contraceptive-loaded Malthusian belt, some tattoos, and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

        1. The main allusion was actually to Henry Ford and the mass production and standardisation he developed and sort of applied to humans in the book. Huxley was relatively young when he wrote this but judging from certain parts he was mature in many ways.
          I think you’ll have an entirely different opinion of the book depending on what age you read it. Most people read the book when young and it’s always sort of taught by silly schoolteachers as if it were some sort of dystopian world. Read it again now that you’re old and particularly the part near the end where the Director is explaining things to the savage.
          That world is actually better than ours. Everyone was bred for a certain job and was content to be in the class that they were in and wouldn’t want it any other way.. The work was suited to them and fairly easy and they had all sorts of ,sex and soma to keep them happy.
          Only the top Alphas bred from one egg and looked different from each other had any real sort of individual personality and thinking. They were conditioned too as children and had jobs suitable to their higher IQ. If for some reason they didn’t fit in to their society or were unhappy with it they could always go to one of the places set aside and live with other nonconformists like themselves.
          Reread the part I mentioned.

  2. What was the point of this article?
    It seems to be something like: suffragists like a book, the sucks, therefore suffragists suck.

  3. Now it is fifty shades of grey. I am not sure that educating women was ever necessary?
    The Count of Monte Cristo seemed good, though it was written by a Turkish woman living in France at the time, I think, in 1905. In these novels everyone’s fashion is of course discussed. Purely, their calling card is turning everything into a cosmopolitan magazine if one wants to know the level of feminist/suffragette adherence a women’s hind brain has devolved to. Regardless of the times they live in. If woman were matter, you would know them based on the consistency throughout the universe of their self-loathing covered in gossip, popular cloth, and precious gems given by betas who without a stroke of luck will never see the inside of their vagina.
    Like a mythological sorcerer who does not believe in magic, are the male characters of these women’s novels. For how could they not strike us as odd? They are men, like our sons nowadays, merely cut out whole cloth from the minds of women. Metrosexuals of the world unite, my bitches need comforting after a good fuck. Better you than me. Regale them with fairy tales and unicorns. For that is the closest to a socialist utopia women will ever lead.

    1. Alexandre Dumas was a Turkish woman? I have got to pay more attention! 🙂
      I haven’t read Sons and Lovers, but I remember the “The Rocking Horse Winner” as a pretty damning account of materialism. Lady Chatterly’s Lover certainly contains many red-pill truths.

      1. I’ve read them all many years ago. Morel was a bit of a mama’s boy but he certainly had more game than anyone on here.
        Roosh is a bit confused the same way he was about Jante and doesn’t understand the English subtlety anymore than the Scandinavian variety. This is why he does so badly on his trips to Europe. I can assure you that the girls know who the top men are without coming off as some blowhard and braggart which only makes them demote you in class.

        1. DH Lawrence, Introduction to Early Modern European Literature: Didn’t pay attention in class, barely read the book, got an A on the paper cuz I just wrote I knew the professor wanted to read. But if I remember correctly, its the Alpha males that got the bitches in Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, & Villette.

        2. That’s true. Morel was a beta but he still got laid which is a whole lot better than the Deltas here who study “game”

      2. “Alexandre Dumas was a Turkish woman? I have got to pay more attention! :)”
        Yeah, that’s news to me, too.

    2. You’re confusing it with the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. She wasn’t a Turk either but a British writer of Hungarian descent.

    3. Alexandre Dumas was a 1/4 white. His dad was a famous Napoleonic general whose dad was of the French Aristocracy and mother was Haitian.
      Read ” The Black Count ” by Tom Reiss . Should be a movie

  4. You can’t really count much 20th century literature as classic just because it is 100 years olds. Much of it is terrible writing, and you justly criticize it as the shit ot is, but the last paragraph of your article discredits you quite a bit as an aspiring critic of culture.

    1. Yes, God forbid anyone disagree. Point out the Emperor has no clothes, and all the proper people won’t invite you to their parties. Remember, nobody believed the common folk when they said the Emperor was naked. “You just can’t see because you are uncultured!”

      1. The common folk as you put it did not believe or say the emperor was naked. It was a little kid. Proles or commoners are stupid and will believe anything.

        1. The common folk saw clearly the emperor was naked, but nobody believed them because everyone wanted to be thought well of. The little kid seeing it worked because a child that young can’t lie, plus the nobles apparently actually possessed a sense of shame. Untrue today.
          The common folk are a lot better than you think. However it makes a lot of people feel great to have someone to look down on.

  5. This novel does not show D.H. Lawrence at his best. Agreed. A lot of his writing, once considered “edgy” (like Lady Chatterly’s Lover) has not aged well. Maybe he and others like him were too successful in pushing the boundaries of acceptable conduct, that all sense of restraint has been lost. Avante-garde writers like him felt the need to white-knight for women as a reaction to the perceived injustices of the age, but they had no idea they were creating a ticking time-bomb.
    Roosh’s points are well taken. A lot of Lawrence’s writing is extremely boring. And I do think it’s true that many of the books we call “classics” are left on the cold shelves for a good reason.
    But I will say this: for every bad book like this, if you keep digging, you can find some amazing ones. Keep reading, man…even the bad ones have something to teach us.
    But I will say this in defense of D.H. Lawrence. He was pretty far out there, and in his day was a real rebel. He came from a poor background, and suffered from tuberculosis from a young age (it eventually killed him). He did have a very unhealthy attachment to his mother, so I see this novel as somewhat autobiographical. It is his way of trying to work his issues out. As a young man, he abandoned everything to elope with a married German woman with several children. He just split from the whole program and decided to live abroad and work as a full-time writer. He and his wife lived in Italy, the United States, and Mexico, and during that time turned out some pretty good books. He was an outcast from his native England for his entire life.
    The only books of his that I like are his travel books on Italy: “Etruscan Places” and “Sea and Sardinia”, as well as his “Studies in Classic American Literature”.

    1. I recently found out James Baldwin wrote most of his novels in Europe (France, Turkey,etc). DH wrote in exile too? That’s inspiring and I plan to follow suit. Roosh is part of long tradition it appears.

    2. I would recommend any of Dostoevsky’s works. I think Notes from Underground, House of the Dead, The Brothers Karamazov, etc. have aged well and I have found Dostoevsky’s works to be rather realistic and yet dramatic.

  6. you might better enjoy ‘my name is norval’ by terence e vere white. a post-wall never-married woman meets a mysterious & compelling stranger. it does not end well.

  7. Back in the day before no-fault divorce, a woman paid the price if she chose the wrong man. It’s obvious why a movement of female emancipation had much appeal, but over-treating the illness, as we have done, will cause side-effects from the medicine to be worse than the disease. While the Morel family wasn’t entirely happy, the children were instilled with traditional values that went on to aid them in adulthood. None of them took on a life of crime, homosexuality, or procreation out of wedlock. I fail to see the problem of not having a perfectly utopian family life over single mom households and bastardization.

    Reminds me of my parents’ respective families. My mom’s family from Arkansas displayed many of the stereotypes about hillbillies, like my grandparents’ early loss of teeth and rumors about Grandpa’s dabbling in moonshine-making before he got married. But Grandpa Ervin and Grandma Kathleen stayed married through the end, even if they didn’t really like each other when I knew them. (Their Scottish-Irish first names suggest that I come from about the whitest group of people imaginable.) And their children, despite their socially disadvantaged backgrounds, generally turned out all right.

  8. Hey Roosh, buddy. If you want lots of action, little character development, and no descriptions of what’s going on, watch cartoon network. And if you’re going to read classic lit, don’t read DH Lawrence. He sucks. Read Tolstoy. Natasha Rostova from War and Peace is an article waiting to be written for ROK. (so for that matter is Anna Karenina).

  9. Read “The Romantic Manifesto”, by Ayn Rand to understand the 20th century crap called modern literature.
    She used the term ” romantic” to mean stories that had a PLOT. Stories where a character is set against people and events he must overcome in order to achieve his goals. And! His goals ARE achievable.
    The hallmark of “modern” literature is the tiny man facing unidentifiable, overwhelming forces over which he has no control and no understanding of those forces.
    And he MUST lose.
    Why? Because he is a nothing. A nobody and he has no power to achieve his dreams.
    You know, it just occurred to me that that’s what a LOT of comments on the internet are like! Guys are always going on and on about the system and the New World Order and how Society has stacked the decks against them.
    What they don’t realize is that with every comment they are announcing to the world that THEY are a Loser. A Failure. A Nobody whom the great machine will inevitably roll over and squash. Amazing.
    Read it. It’s a terrific analysis of modern art and modern culture.

Comments are closed.