Baxter Dawes is the husband of Clara Dawes and Paul Morel’s rival when Paul becomes Clara’s lover. Baxter and Clara are separated (she left him because he cheated on her) and Baxter is self-destructive and miserable in the wake of her departure, despite the fact that he now lives with his mistress. Paul and Baxter hate each other even before Paul goes out with Clara. Baxter is a manual laborer and Paul finds him rude and “common” and looks down on and despises him. Baxter, in turn, hates Paul for being snobbish and above himself. At the same time, Paul feels drawn towards Baxter and Baxter is reminiscent of Mr. Morel and mirrors the emotionally distant father figure in Paul’s life. Paul and Baxter’s rivalry reaches a crisis when Baxter attacks Paul one night and the pair have a brawl. After this, however, the two become friends when Paul visits Baxter in hospital, where he is sick and depressed. Baxter is a physical and proud man, but his pride and confidence are shattered by his failed relationship with Clara. He feels sorry for himself and regrets what has happened. After he recovers from his illness, he realizes that he does not want to die and is humbled by the experience. This experience also matures him, and he grows more responsible and emotionally communicative and is able to reconcile with Clara, with Paul’s help, at the novel’s close.
Baxter Dawes Character Timeline in Sons and Lovers
The timeline below shows where the character Baxter Dawes appears in Sons and Lovers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...understand the position women are in. Another day, Miriam asks Paul about Clara’s situation with Baxter Dawes and Paul tells her that he thinks Clara treated Dawes badly. He thinks that... (full context)