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The Children in Sons and Lovers and What Maisie Knew

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The characters in Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence and the

characters in What Maisie Knew each have a special meaning. They all seem

to be interwoven with one another portraying a new cycle in another

characters life. For instance, in What Maisie Knew Mrs. Wix was introduced,

in my opinion, at a time when Maisie needed a mother figure. Also, Sir

Claude is introduced when she seems to need a father figure. On the other

hand, in Sons and Lovers there are not very many new characters introduced.

However, the ones that are introduced seem to want to try and break the

bond that Paul and his mother have. Thus, James and Lawrence seem to be

using similar themes with different surroundings and events. Although the

circumstances are different, Henry James and D. H. Lawrence characterize

the children as being Impoverished.

Henry James in his novel What Maisie Knew, portrays the main

character, Maisie, as being impoverished emotionally. The emotional

poverty that Maisie experiences in her life exist because of her parents

extremely vicious hatred for each other. They use Maisie as a “vessel for

bitterness” (13). To Beale and Ida, Maisie was just a tool that they used

to hurt the other person. Eventually, Maisie figured out that they were

using her to be the bearer of brutily hateful messages. Consequently, she

learned not to deliver such messages. This made her parents very angry and

they decided that she had “grown incredably dull”. Thus, Maisie realized ”

They had wanted her not for any good they could do her, but for harm they

could, with her unconscious aid, do each other.” Unfortunately, Maisie’s

emotions were of no concern to either parent. As a result, Maisie seldom

experienced any meaningful affection from either of her parents.

Furthermore, on the rare occasions when Maisie’s mother embraced her it was

performed without any affection, or it is so convulsive that it makes her

feel as though “she had suddenly been thrust, with a smash of glass, into a

jeweller’s shop-front…” (112 Lawrence). Likewise, Maisie’s father

subjects her to emotional neglect by reminding her that everything had ”

changed on her account, everything ordered to enable him to give himself up

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