Everywhere you look in Sons and Lovers, characters are suffering from wounded pride or getting all up in arms about others' arrogance. Paul, Miriam, Mrs. Morel, Walter Morel, and Clara Dawes all get their egos bruised, and they constantly feel insecure in the presence of people who act superior to them. In Paul's case, pride is one of the many things that keeps him from fully accepting Miriam's love. It's tragic, really. So while D.H. Lawrence seems to suggest that pride is a necessary aspect of human experience, it can also can get in the way of personal growth. Amen, brother.
Questions About Pride
- In what ways does Mrs. Morel focus her frustrated pride on her children? What failures is she compensating for?
- How does Mrs. Morel react to her son winning first prize in an art contest? What does this tell us about her relationship to other people, particularly other women?
- Why do the male members of Miriam's family try so hard to humble her? What don't they like about her?
Chew on This
If Mrs. Morel weren't so proud of her sons, they'd actually achieve more in their lives.
All of the accusations leveled at female characters in this book for being to proud speak to the sexist culture of early-20th-century Britain. Women simply aren't allowed to be self-satisfied, especially without men around to thank for their accomplishments.