S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.28 (2008)
Whose Bildungsroman is this?: A Comparison of Paul Morel and Miriam Leivers
- Lim, TaeYun
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.28, pp. 122-141
- D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers has long been regarded as a novel which 'bildungsroman' German term, is applied, being centrally concerned with tears and growth into full awareness of a single character. For a long time, many of the critics mainly have narrowed their anticipations down onto Paul's bildungsroman, therefore, it seems that Miriam has merely remained as an assistant foil helping Paul's maturity. Carefully read, however, this novel as a , whole revealed itself as a novel in which Miriam achieves a noticeable success at the end, while showing us the undeniable fact that Paul ends up a "pathetic Oedipal tragic failure." The primary reason caused Paul' s failure and Miriam's success of their bildung process can be mainly supported by the frame of their relation to the communities they belong to in the text. One of the most significantly shared notions about Sons and Lovers by critics is its "reconciliation" between individuals and their communities in the text; characters and communities they belong to are closely interconnected with each other in SL and these reciprocal interactions, contribute to influence protagonists' bildung process which is moral and social development and maturity.
In this respect, Paul can be said as a sympathetic derelict, cutting from the rest of his communities, not belonging to any of the categories with a firm grasp. He is also a marginal character placed on the dilemma of "belonging and not belonging," between two communities which are the colliery society at Bottoms and the middle-class society at Bestwood. Therefore, Paul has the fatal deficiencies and limitations to become an estimable hero of a typical bildungroman.
However, it is not Paul but Miriam who lives a complete and wholesome life, even experiencing the totality of life. Since Miriam having been constantly
faithful and earnest to her own life at Willey Farm, we became to realize more and more that her life is at least grounded on her complete and wholesome life experiences towards her community and people. Besides, though often neglected, readers become to acknowledge that Miriam is also opening out from girlhood to womanhood and matured into a strong, intelligent woman and the readers could have hardly closed their books, before they realize the fad that Miriam achieves a noticeable success as a woman at the end. Miriam may well achieve at least her own happiness and satisfaction, seeking her dream within the frame of her community and people.