Study Guide

Sons and Lovers Chapter 15

By David Herbert (D.H.) Lawrence

Chapter 15

Derelict

  • Paul hardly sees Clara again after she goes with Dawes to Sheffield.
  • Neither Paul nor Walter can stand the empty Morel house, so both go to live in different places.
  • Paul can't paint after his mother's death. He can't do much of anything, really.
  • To numb the pain, he starts drinking and knocking around the town.
  • This isn't going to end well, is it? Let's find out.
  • Maybe there's a chance for our man Paul yet.
  • One night, Paul stumbles drunk into his apartment and stares into the fire. He wonders about his mother's struggle and what it was all for.
  • He realizes he's destroying himself, and starts to resist it.
  • He tells himself that his mother is in him, and that he has to stay alive for her sake.
  • He also tells himself he can either paint or beget children, which would carry on his mother's legacy.
  • One day, he runs into Miriam at church and they go for a walk together. Then he leads her back to his apartment building for supper. That sly dog.
  • She says she knows about him breaking things off with Clara, then drops a bomb and says she thinks that they should be married.
  • Paul asks why, and she says it's because he's falling apart.
  • He says he's not sure that marriage would do him much good. He knows that Miriam wants to own him completely, and thinks that this will suffocate him.
  • They banter back and forth being all emo for a while. Miriam keeps hoping Paul will really express a profound interest in marrying her, but he won't take charge like that.
  • Paul similarly keeps hoping Miriam will take charge of the sitch.
  • In the end, neither one will compromise, so they part.
  • If they had Facebook in those days, they might be "In a relationship," but clearly, "It's complicated."
  • Once Paul's alone again, he gets all dark and twisty.
  • He whispers "mother" out loud a few times.
  • He almost wants to kill himself to be near her again…
  • Oh boy.
  • At long last, he decides that he won't give in to death. So he turns with clenched fists and walks quickly back toward the town.
  • We wish you the best, good sir.
  • We don't believe you'll achieve it, with what we've seen of Paul so far. But hey, people can change. Right?