Sons and Lovers-Use of setting

Essay by MillerTime311High School, 12th gradeA, December 2003

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In Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence uses setting to comment on a significant moment in the plot. The descriptive passage that stands out is the one at very end of the novel. Lawrence uses the setting to describe Paul Morel's release from the passionate love affair that he has with Miriam Leivers, his intense relationship with married Clare Dawes, and his powerful relationship with his possessive mother. In this setting, Lawrence uses the endless space around Paul, the tiny sparkling stars, and the comparison between darkness and light to show his desire to live.

Lawrence displays, Paul's loneliness by showing that he has been cut off from those whom he had deep relationships with. With his mother's death still eating him alive, he finally ended his affair with Miriam. "When he turned away he felt the last hold for him had gone." (415) This sense of emptiness makes Paul feel there is no place for him in the world and "he stood alone."

(416) Even the people currently around Paul can't provide barrier "to the void in which he found himself" because in every direction he seems to go, there is nothing but a giant gap which keeps him vulnerable and alone. (416)

Paul questions his existence in the universe by comparing himself to the "little stars spread far away in the flood-waters, a firmament below" or to tiny grains of sand. (416) In this case, Paul feels like a speck of nothingness in the midst of space. The significant change occurs when Paul realizes that these stars do stand out, defiant against the futile darkness. "Stars and sun, a few bright grains, went spinning round for terror, and holding each other in embrace, there in a darkness that out passed them all, and left them tiny and daunted."...