Clara Dawes is the wife of Baxter Dawes, the daughter of Mrs. Radford, and Paul Morel’s lover. Clara is estranged from her husband Baxter, whom she married young and found that she could not get on with. She is a friend of Miriam (who introduces her to Paul) and she lives with her mother. Clara is a suffragette and is bitter and resentful about the way her marriage has worked out. Paul believes that she is a “man hater” but, as he gets to know her, feels that she is deeply sensuous and “needs a man” to feel loved and that her single life makes her depressed. Clara treats Paul’s claims contemptuously and insists that Baxter was cruel to her and that this is the reason she left him. Paul and Clara have an extremely passionate and physical relationship, although they do not have much in common intellectually. Clara is a strong, active woman, but is very reserved and finds it hard to fit in with the factory girls when Paul gets her a job at Jordan’s. She gets on well with Mrs. Morel, however, who prefers down to earth Clara to the saintly Miriam. She gains confidence through her affair with Paul, but will not divorce her husband, whom she still feels sorry for. Clara is independent and single minded because she is willing to live separately from her husband despite the social disapproval this causes. By the end of the novel, Clara is sick of Paul’s dithering between her and Miriam and feels that he is unmanly because he has played with her and failed to commit to their relationship. She gets her pride back after her failed marriage and, in her new confident, independent state, is able to reconcile with Baxter, who has been humbled and who now intends to treat her with respect.
Clara Dawes Quotes in Sons and Lovers
The Sons and Lovers quotes below are all either spoken by Clara Dawes or refer to Clara Dawes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Sons and Lovers published in 2006.).
Chapter 12 Quotes
His mother looked at him. He had turned to her. She thought what a man he seemed, in his dark, well-made clothes. He was pale and detached-looking, it would be hard for any woman to keep him. Her heart glowed. Then she was sorry for Clara.
Clara Dawes Character Timeline in Sons and Lovers
The timeline below shows where the character Clara Dawes appears in Sons and Lovers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Pappleworth defended him. Ever since then, Dawes has hated Paul and Paul equally despises him. Clara has left Baxter and gone to live with her mother. Meanwhile Baxter is now seeing... (full context)
Paul complains that men are paid more because they support families and he complains that Clara sounds like a suffragette. He resents being generalized about and thinks that men are blamed... (full context)
...accepts that he is serious and believes that he is, unconsciously, under the influence of Clara. She complains that this has been their whole relationship, him fighting against her, and Paul... (full context)