Sons and Lovers

by

D. H. Lawrence

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Mr. Walter Morel Character Analysis

Mr. Morel is the husband of Mrs. Morel and the father of William, Paul, Annie and Arthur. Mr. Morel is a coalminer and works in the mines from the age of thirteen onwards and for the rest of his adult life. He is a sensuous, physical man but he is not inclined towards conversation and is does not have the patience for serious ideas. He is uneducated, like most miners in this period, and does not know how to read or write well. He is extremely “handy” around the house and is at his most content when he is at work or engaged in some practical task. He finds, after a short period of marriage, that he is incompatible with Mrs. Morel and that he clashes with her severe, disciplined approach to life. In response to this, Mr. Morel takes to drink and spends much of his time in the pub. He is unable to communicate well or explain his emotions and takes out his frustration on his wife and children. He feels hurt and rejected when Mrs. Morel pays more attention to the children than to him and believes that he is not appreciated as the breadwinner of the family. From time to time, he flirts with misogynistic ideas, encouraged by his friend Jerry Purdy, and attempts to dominate Mrs. Morel. He finds, however, that he is a much weaker character than her and, though he is violent towards her and, on one occasion, threatens to leave, she always seems more in control of the situation than he does, although she is financially reliant on him and he is physically much stronger than her. Mr. Morel is a cowardly man and never takes responsibility for the wrongs he has done to his wife. Instead, after her death, he “dismisses” her by telling himself that he always “did his best by her,” although this is not completely true.

Mr. Walter Morel Quotes in Sons and Lovers

The Sons and Lovers quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Walter Morel or refer to Mr. Walter Morel. 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:
Family, Psychology, and the Oedipus Complex Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Sons and Lovers published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Gertrude herself was rather contemptuous of dancing: she had not the slightest inclination towards that accomplishment, and had never learned even a Roger de Coverley. She was a puritan, like her father, high-minded, and really stern. Therefore the dusky, golden softness of this man’s sensuous flame of life, that flowed from off his flesh like the flame from a candle, not baffled and gripped into incandescence by thought and spirit as her life was, seemed to her something wonderful, beyond her.

Related Characters: Mrs. Gertrude Morel, Mr. Walter Morel
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Afterwards, she said she had been silly, that the boy’s hair would have had to be cut, sooner or later. In the end, she even brought herself to say to her husband, it was just as well he had played barber when he did. But she knew, and Morel knew, that that act had caused something momentous to take place in her soul. She remembered the scene all her life, as one in which she had suffered the most intensely.

Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs. Morel leaned on the garden gate, looking out, and she lost herself awhile. She did not know what she thought. Except for a slight feeling of sickness, and her consciousness in the child, herself melted out like scent into the shiny, pale air. After a time, the child too melted with her in the mixing-pot of moonlight, and she rested with the hills and lilies and houses, all swum together in a kind of swoon.

Related Symbols: Flowers, The Moon
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

She no longer loved her husband; she had not wanted this child to come, and there it lay in her arms and pulled at her heart. She felt as if the navel string that had connected its frail little body with hers had not been broken. A wave of hot love went over her to the infant. She held it close to her face and breast. With all her force, with all her soul she would make up to it for having brought it into the world unloved. She would love it all the more now it was here, carry it in her love.

Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

“And now,” he said, “you’ll see me again when you do.”

“It’ll be before I want to,” she replied, and at that, he marched out of the house with his bundle. She sat trembling slightly, but her heart brimming with contempt. What would she do if he went to some other pit, obtained work, and got in with another woman? But she knew him too well—he couldn’t. She was dead sure of him. Nevertheless her heart was gnawed inside her.

Related Characters: Mrs. Gertrude Morel (speaker), Mr. Walter Morel (speaker)
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Paul was in bed for seven weeks. He got up white and fragile. His father had bought him a pot of scarlet and gold tulips. They used to flame in the window, in the March sunshine, as he sat on the sofa chattering to his mother. The two knitted together in perfect intimacy. Mrs. Morel’s life now rooted itself in Paul.

Related Symbols: Flowers
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Sometimes, when it was lighter, she talked about her husband. Now she hated him. She did not forgive him. She could not bear him to be in the room. And a few things, the things that had been most bitter to her, came up again so strongly, that they broke from her, and she told her son. He felt as if his life were being destroyed, piece by piece, within him.

Page Number: 430
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Walter Morel Character Timeline in Sons and Lovers

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Walter Morel appears in Sons and Lovers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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 Nature and Industrialism Theme Icon
...lived there for three weeks when a fair comes to town. Mrs. Morel worries that Mr. Morel will “make a holiday” of it, but the children, William and Annie, are extremely excited. (full context)
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...seems exhausted after his day out. He tells Mrs. Morel that he saw his father, Mr. Morel , serving in the bar tent. Mrs. Morel knows that her husband has no money,... (full context)
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...and has brought presents for the children. Mrs. Morel accuses him of being drunk but Mr. Morel denies it. Eventually, Mrs. Morel tires of his excuses and his “chatter” and goes to... (full context)
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 Death, Grief, and Self-Destruction  Theme Icon
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...vigorous and not at all like her own father, who was “rather bitter” and intellectual. Walter Morel, in turn, admired Gertrude (Mrs. Morel) because she was the opposite of him; she... (full context)
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Walter and Mrs. Morel are married not long after this meeting and, for the first few... (full context)
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Walter is a very practical man and Mrs. Morel loves how “handy” he is around the... (full context)
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...feels lonely and disconnected from her husband. She dotes on her baby, however, which makes Mr. Morel jealous, and she is frustrated and abandoned when he begins to spend more and more... (full context)
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Mrs. Morel is extremely proud of her son and loves his long, blonde hair. Mr. Morel is affectionate with the boy when he is in the right mood, but often he... (full context)
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...this. In the slow summer months, when the mines often close early for the day, Mr. Morel earns very little and the family are poor. In the winter, when he earns more,... (full context)
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At the time when the fair comes to town, Mr. Morel is not earning much, and Mrs. Morel is trying to save money for the new... (full context)
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The men walk across the fields, stopping to drink at pubs along the way. Mr. Morel sleeps for a while on the ground, under the hot sun, and feels strange when... (full context)
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Mr. Morel and Jerry catch an evening train back to “the Bottoms” and go to another nearby... (full context)
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...that she would have left him long ago if it weren’t for their children. Enraged, Mr. Morel turns her out of the house and Mrs. Morel finds herself alone, outside, in the... (full context)
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 Death, Grief, and Self-Destruction  Theme Icon
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...to return from the house, and she knocks on the window to try to wake Mr. Morel up. After several attempts, he hears her and opens the door. When he has let... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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After his drunken outburst, Mr. Morel is contrite and ashamed. He soon forgets about the fight, but the incident dents his... (full context)
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...She gives birth to another son. This time the child is fair with blue eyes. Mr. Morel stays late at work and arrives home to find his wife has given birth. He... (full context)
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One evening when the minister is there, Mr. Morel comes home early. He is disdainful of Mr. Heaton’s profession and postures in front of... (full context)
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...to take back control of the household—egged on by his friend Jerry Purdy, who encourages Mr. Morel to put his foot down and dominate his wife—Mrs. Morel simply laughs at him. Mr.... (full context)
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...after one of their fights, Mrs. Morel takes the children out of the house because Mr. Morel has lashed out at William. She sits on a hillside near the house and watches... (full context)
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Mr. Morel is unusually bad tempered during this time and stomps about the house. One night, Mrs.... (full context)
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When Mr. Morel does arrive home, he is very drunk and demands that Mrs. Morel behave like a... (full context)
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...tells the children that she bumped her eye on the edge of the coal bunker. Mr. Morel sulks in bed all day. He is wracked with guilt because of what happened and... (full context)
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A week later, Mrs. Morel notices that Mr. Morel has begun to steal from her; he takes money from her housekeeping purse. She is... (full context)
Family, Psychology, and the Oedipus Complex Theme Icon
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...grows anxious. Her fears are allayed, however, when she goes to get coal and notices Mr. Morel ’s bundle of things – which he had taken with him – stowed behind the... (full context)
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Mr. Morel comes back later that night and tries to make Mrs. Morel feel grateful that he... (full context)
Chapter 3
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 Death, Grief, and Self-Destruction  Theme Icon
Over the next few weeks, Mr. Morel falls ill, and Mrs. Morel must nurse him and care for the household and the... (full context)
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Although Mr. Morel returns to his old self after a while, he feels that his “authority” in the... (full context)
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...Morel confronts William, but William explains that he tore the boy’s shirt by accident. When Mr. Morel comes home, he too has heard about the incident from the neighbors and is ready... (full context)
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 Death, Grief, and Self-Destruction  Theme Icon
When William is thirteen, Mrs. Morel gets him a job at this Co-op. Mr. Morel objects to this and complains that he went down the pit when he was around... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Although none of the children are close to their father, Paul particularly dislikes Mr. Morel and always sides with his mother. He remembers coming home from school one day and... (full context)
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As a child, Paul prays for his father’s death and hopes Mr. Morel will be killed in a mining accident. If Mr. Morel does not come home on... (full context)
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...several weeks with bronchitis. Although his father tries to soothe him, he is aggravated by Mr. Morel ’s presence and will only be comforted by his mother, who often sleeps in the... (full context)
 Nature and Industrialism Theme Icon
...both found jobs, it becomes Paul’s responsibility to go to the public house and collect Mr. Morel ’s wages. Paul hates to do this and feels mortified as he waits for his... (full context)
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...home to their wives, who grumble about the closure. Mrs. Morel is frustrated to have Mr. Morel under her feet all day. William, who is away in London, begins to write regularly... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Mr. Morel is careless and accident prone and Mrs. Morel is never shocked when he is sent... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...tiresome and overly energetic. Arthur used to get on well with his father, but as Mr. Morel grows older, he becomes bitter and antagonistic, and irritates his family by being deliberately crass... (full context)
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The next morning, Louisa sleeps in very late, to the amazement of Mr. Morel , who is always up early. When she finally does come down, William is annoyed... (full context)
 Death, Grief, and Self-Destruction  Theme Icon
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...London to register the death and make the funeral arrangements. She telegrams home and asks Mr. Morel to join her in London. (full context)
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Paul goes to fetch Mr. Morel from the mine. Paul cannot comprehend that fact that William is dead and sits, stunned,... (full context)
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Paul and Mr. Morel arrange the furniture so that there will be space for the coffin and William is... (full context)
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...Mrs. Morel are kind to each other for a period after William’s death and, although Mr. Morel eventually goes back to his old habits, he never walks through the cemetery where William... (full context)
Chapter 8
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 Nature and Industrialism Theme Icon
...in the world. She complains that being a soldier is a “common” profession and tells Mr. Morel that she must go to Derby immediately. Mr. Morel is ashamed of his son and... (full context)
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...is engaged. On Friday nights, the miners divide up the earnings for the week at Mr. Morel ’s house. Paul watches his father wash as he gets ready for this and thinks... (full context)
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The miners divide up their money and Mr. Morel slinks out with them when they are finished. Mrs. Morel takes the housekeeping money, which... (full context)
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...her to believe him and moves over to her chair to kiss and caress her. Mr. Morel comes in at that moment and is enraged by the sight of the mother and... (full context)
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Mr. Morel falls into a chair and Paul kneels beside Mrs. Morel and brings her back to... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...ambitious as an artist. Paul insists that he will share this money with his mother. Mr. Morel is proud when he hears, although he obviously wishes it were more money, and laments... (full context)
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...to dress better and everyone in the family seems to have “come along,” all except Mr. Morel , who has not changed. (full context)
Chapter 12
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...Paul shows her around and tells her about the family. She is greeted warmly by Mr. Morel and seems to fit in perfectly with the household. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...that he looks very old and sad as he putters about the little house alone. Mr. Morel asks timidly about his wife and is sorry to hear she is so ill. He... (full context)
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...a walk with Clara to distract himself, but he cries on and off all day. Mr. Morel comes to visit Mrs. Morel at the end of the week, but he is awkward... (full context)
Chapter 14
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The next morning, she is still the same and Paul sends Mr. Morel to work as usual. Paul is horrified as he watches his mother die and sits... (full context)
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...goes out that night to spend time at a friend’s house. When he gets home, Mr. Morel is still up. Paul registers, with a shock, that his father has been afraid to... (full context)
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...is held during a rainstorm and Mrs. Morel is buried with William. After the funeral, Mr. Morel frets and cries to Mrs. Morel’s family that he always “did his best by her.”... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...Clara is gone, and he and his father part ways and leave the family home. Mr. Morel lodges with a family and Paul takes a room in Nottingham. He tries to lose... (full context)