The first part of Lawrence’s life is quite well represented in Sons and Lovers. His parents were Arthur and Lydia Lawrence, not Walter and Gertrude Morel. Miriam Leivers is modelled on Jessie Chambers, and Clara Dawes more loosely represents a Mrs Dax. There are some differences between the novel and Lawrence’s own life in terms of timing and events (for example, Lawrence only worked at Haywood’s – the model for Jordan’s – for a few months, rather than the years of employment as ‘spiral clerk’ Paul Morel sustains in the novel), but the reader of Sons and Lovers gains an understanding of the actual social background, physical environment, and of Lawrence family relationships, which seems to be a fairly reliable guide. Also, the young Lawrence’s involvements with Jessie Chambers and Mrs Dax are fully described – from his point of view – in the story of Miriam and Clara we are told in Sons and Lovers. The brief biographical sketch we have room for in this chapter cannot provide anything approaching the autobiographical detail of the novel.
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