Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements for Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in “Sons and Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics for Sons and Lovers below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “Sons and Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent paper. Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints about how to use PaperStarter.com in the brief User's Guide…you'll be glad you did.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Psychoanalytic Reading of Sons and Lovers
Paul’s relationship with his mother may be unusually close for the contemporary reader’s comfort. He is constantly seeking affirmations of her love, emotional and physical, and he needs her approval almost more than he needs anything else. Despite his occasional efforts to form intimate relationships, thoughts of his mother’s opinion always get in the way. Considering the dynamics between Paul and his mother, write an essay in which you analyze their relationship from a psychoanalytic perspective. You will need to be familiar with psychoanalytic theory (especially Freudian) in order to write this kind of essay. Be sure to examine the relationship from both perspectives, that of Paul and of his mother. Address the psychological needs—conscious, unconscious, or both—that are being met through their relationship.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Judging Miriam
Miriam is the first woman with whom Paul has an intimate relationship. Paul ultimately terminates his relationship with her and Miriam has difficulty accepting this decision. She sees something in Paul that she believes he cannot see in himself, and she believes that she could facilitate his growth and happiness if only he would let her in. Considering the numerous lengthy glimpses that the reader gets into Miriam’s thoughts and feelings about Paul, decide whether Miriam is a strong character or a pitiable one. Write an argumentative or persuasive essay in which you attempt to convince your reader to adopt your opinion about Miriam’s character.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: Explaining Paul’s Ambivalence
Paul is a character who demonstrates a high degree of ambivalence about almost everything in his life, except his love for his mother. Select one or more issues in which Paul demonstrates moral, intellectual, or emotional ambivalence, and write an essay in which you develop an argument to explain why Paul is so ambivalent. You may wish to take a developmental perspective, drawing on psychodynamic theories of human cognitive, intellectual, and emotional growth. Should you choose this approach, be sure to consider Paul’s entire lifespan and what you know about his upbringing. You may conclude by stating whether you believe that Paul’s ambivalence will be resolved once his mother has died. Be sure to draw upon textual evidence for support.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: A Structural Analysis
The structure and delivery of a novel are always important because they provide the reader with cues and clues about how to read the text. There are a number of organizing features of the text that are significant for rendering a reading of Sons and Lovers; among these are the detailed chapter titles and the episodic narration. Select one or more of these variables and write an essay in which you analyze the structural features of the novel. Consider how these variables affect a reading and interpretation of the novel, and how a different reading might be rendered if the variables were altered in any way.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: Predicting Paul’s Future
At the end of Sons and Lovers, Paul’s mother, who has meant so much to him, has died and Paul is disconsolate. Given the context clues provided in Chapter 15, write an essay in which you imagine what might happen to Paul, personally and professionally. Pay particular attention to the final two paragraphs, in which Paul seems to consider joining his mother in death, but then decides to walk towards the town (see quote below).
This list of important quotations from “Sons and Lovers” by D.H. Lawrence will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from “Sons and Lovers” listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements above, these quotes from “Sons and Lovers” alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way. All quotes from “Sons and Lovers” contain page numbers as well. Look at the bottom of the page to identify which edition of the text they are referring to.
“Paul loved to sleep with his mother. Sleep is still most perfect…when it is shared with a beloved.” (68)
“‘I shall please myself…. It’s not late. I shall do as I like.” (179)
“And Paul hated her [Miriam] because, somehow, she spoilt his ease and naturalness. And he writhed himself with a feeling of humiliation.” (179)
“‘Why don’t you like her, mother?’” he cried in despair. ‘I don’t know, my boy,’ she replied piteously. ‘I’m sure I’ve tried to like her. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t—I can’t!’” (193)
“Miriam brooded over his split with her. There was something else he wanted. He could not be satisfied; he could give her no peace. There was between them not always a ground for strife.” (227)
“I shall break off with Miriam, mother….I ought to, oughtn’t I?” (292)
“Everything seemed to have gone smash for the young man. He could not paint. The picture he finished on the day of his mother’s death—one that satisfied him—was the last thing he did…. When he came home he could not take up his brushes again. There was nothing left.” (406)
“Everything seemed so different, so unreal. There seemed no reason why people should go along the street, and houses pile up in the daylight. There seemed no reason why these things should occupy the space, instead of leaving it empty. His friends talked to him: He heard the sounds and he answered. But why there should be the noise of speech he could not understand.” (406)
“What am I doing? And out of the semi-intoxicated trance came the answer: Destroying myself.” (407)
“So much, and himself, infinitesimal, at the core a nothingness, and yet not nothing….She[his mother] was the only thing that held him up, himself, amid all this. And she was gone….But no, he would not give in…. He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.” (416)
Reference: Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers. New York: Bantam, 1985