I've just recently seen a documentary saying that the women's liberation movement has been set back due to recent news stories such as Lorena Bobbit. This reminds me of a book I read a long time ago. It's called Sons And Lovers
Women’s liberation is a minor theme when compared with the other themes in Sons And Lovers. Although it is a minor theme, women’s liberation is important to the novel.
Women’s liberation manifests itself through Mrs. Morel. At the beginning, Mrs. Morel feels resentment towards Mr. Morel and describes him as “overbearing.” Although her feelings for Morel are resentment, she “never quite wanted him to die.” When Mrs. Morel joins the Women’s Guild, the action symbolizes freedom such as women’s liberation. Through the Guild, Mrs. Morel felt a “state of peace” within her. From the Guild, Mrs. Morel gained a certain independence from her “overbearing” husband. Even her children, “derived” “treats” from it. Some of the “horrible husbands” called the Guild “the gossip shop” because they felt their wives became “too independent.” Lawrence shows women’s liberation’s goal of independence epitomized through Mrs. Morel’s constant participation of “the Guild.”
Women’s liberation’s idea of “a new standard” appears in Mrs. Morel. “When the children were old enough to be left,” Mrs. Morel decided to join the “Women’s Guild.” A “new” Mrs. Morel started to surface from the beginning of the Women’s Guild. In the beginning, the Guild only discussed “co-operation.” The “co-operation” discussions involved a little club of women who met “over the grocery shop of Bestwood.” Later, the discussions involved “queer” “social questions.” When this began, a “new standard” for women emerged tacitly. For example, the Guild felt women should be able to read. This resulted in “Mrs. Morel read[ing] a paper.” Even her children noticed this “new standard.” Usually her children perceived Mrs. Morel as a mother “who was always busy about the house.” With the “new standard” set by the Guild, her children began to feel “the deepest respect” for her.
The opposition for the women’s liberation appears in Sons And Lovers. The Women’s Guild was “a little club” attached to the co-operative wholesale society. This Guild causes controversy throughout Bestwood when some “hostile husbands” began to call it “the ‘clat-fart’ shop.” The “hostile husbands” opposed the Guild because it influenced their wives to become “too independent.” The husbands found the Guild “disconcerting.” Their wives became critical over slight slights and imperfections. Because of the Guild, “the women could look at their homes, at the conditions of their own lives, and find fault.” Although the opposition to the club was inevitable, Mrs. Morel “enjoyed it.” Because of the Guild, Mrs. Morel began “thinking, referring to books, and writing.” At the beginning, the opposition was string, but in the end it died out.
In conclusion, women’s liberation’s importance appears in Sons And Lovers. Mrs. Morel portrays the ideals and hardships that women’s liberation encompasses. The goals of freedom and independence manifests itself through the Guild while opposition to women’s liberation characterizes itself in the “hostile husbands.” Overall, D.H. Lawrence incorporates the importance of women’s liberation.