Study Guide

Sons and Lovers Chapter 2

By David Herbert (D.H.) Lawrence

Chapter 2

The Birth of Paul, And Another Battle

  • After that first night back on the old sauce, Walter's confidence starts to shrink, along with "his pride and moral strength" (2.1).
  • He still goes to the bar on Fridays, but doesn't come home quite so drunk. He makes his own breakfast and brings his wife a cup of tea when he's done. Mrs. Morel, though, just criticizes the tea and makes him leave.
  • During this time, Mrs. Morel spends her days mostly going outside to the ash pit and talking to other wives. It's their regular Ash Pit and Dish Circle.
  • One day, Mrs. Morel summons her neighbor Mrs. Kirk and asks for a woman named Aggie Bower. It looks like the baby is coming.
  • Not so fast. That itty bitty infant ain't coming out easy. Mrs. Morel experiences difficulty in giving birth to this kid, just like she has with her other kids.
  • And Walter isn't home for the birth, of course. She figures he stopped at the pub.
  • When dude finally does get home, Mrs. Morel tells him to leave, though she actually wants him to kiss her. He wants to kiss her, too, but neither one of them will make a move.
  • Ugh, relationships. Use your words, people.
  • After the birth, Mrs. Morel hangs out during the day with Mr. Heaton, the local preacher, a widower who likes to talk to her.
  • Walter comes home and half-embarrasses Heaton with his rude miner-talk.
  • After Heaton leaves, Mrs. Morel and Walter have another argument. Are you getting the gist of their extremely functional relationship yet?
  • One night, after Heaton has been over, Mrs. Morel goes out with the children. Walter has kicked William, and she'll never forgive him for it.
  • The new baby seems to have a face that's always sad, and this weighs on Mrs. Morel. She begins to wonder what the future holds for her little boy, and suddenly decides to name him Paul. Probably not because she's obsessed with Peter, Paul, and Mary. That was us.
  • On another night, Walter comes home surly and wants to know if there's food. Mrs. Morel tells him to do things for himself—really, come on. But as he goes about doing that, he drops a drawer of kitchen stuff, and kicks it before it hits the ground, sending it flying into Mrs. Morel's face.
  • Ouchies. She starts bleeding badly from her brow.
  • Walter feels terrible and tries to help her. The next day, Mrs. Morel tells William and Annie that she banged her head on a kitchen latch when a candle blew out. The children seem to know better, though.
  • When Walter gets out of bed the next Sunday, he decides that he no longer cares what his family thinks of him. Whenever he enters a room in the house, the family shrinks away from him.
  • When he goes to the pub, though, people welcome him like a brother and make a seat for him. So he starts going with the second option more and more often. (We saw this coming.)
  • The next Wednesday, Walter sneaks into the house, completely broke, and takes money from Mrs. Morel's purse to go drinking.
  • Still, because Walter is a Grade A Class Act, he pretends to be offended when his wife accuses him of taking the money. Then he makes himself a hobo-style bindle, saying that he's going to leave the house forever.
  • Mrs. Morel is mad, but also a little frightened by the idea that Walter might go live with another woman and work in some other pit. At the end of the day, she depends on the little income he brings home.
  • This is not a good situation for anyone.
  • Mrs. Morel knows that she once loved her husband, and doesn't anymore.
  • We're pretty sure they should get a divorce, but it doesn't look like things are headed that way, does it?