Sons and Lovers
by David Herbert (D.H.) Lawrence
Sons and Lovers Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
He waited grimly, and watched. At last Miriam let the bird peck from her hand. She gave a little cry of fear, and pain because of fear—rather pathetic. But she had done it, and she did it again. (6.251)
Paul finds it pathetic that Miriam is so scared of feeding a chicken. But he still experiences a small sense of triumph when he helps her overcome this fear. No doubt, Miriam's scaredy-cat nature stems partially from her natural shyness and partially from her cultural training as a young girl.
"Yes," wrote Mrs. Morel to her son, "the photograph of Louie is very striking, and I can see she must be attractive. But do you think, my boy, it was very good taste of a girl to give her young man that photo to send to his mother—the first?" (5.216)
After her son William sends her a photo of his new girlfriend, Mrs. Morel expresses her distaste at the fact that the girl has bare shoulders. Mrs. Morel suggests that the pic is inappropriate, and that William has been inappropriate in giving it to her. We can't be certain at this point, but it definitely feels like Mrs. Morel would've found any excuse she could to not like the photo—she'll never think any woman is good enough for her son(s).
Miriam also refused to be approached. She was afraid of being set at nought, as by her own brothers. The girl was romantic in her soul. Everywhere was a Walter Scott heroine being loved by men with helmets or with plumes in their caps. She herself was something of a princess turned into a swine-girl in her own imagination. (7.1)
Miriam's greatly influenced by the novels she's read, especially by the models of ideal womanliness that these works demonstrate in their heroines. So, Miriam wants to be a passive object for men to admire. And this passivity proves to be Big Trouble in her relationship with Paul.