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A Collier's Friday Night


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A: D. H. Lawrence W:c.1906–9 Pf: 1965, London Pb: 1934 G: Drama in 3 acts S: The Lamberts' house in a mining town (Eastwood?) near Derby, 1909 C: 4m, 5fIn the Lamberts' kitchen the mother is preparing supper for her husband on his return from working in the coal mine. Lambert comes in weary and covered in coal dust. He is surly and short-tempered and is soon rowing with his rebellious daughter Nellie. Their son Ernest returns from his day at the College in Derby. Men from Lambert's gang arrive at the house to share their wages for the week. After the men go off drinking, Nellie leaves with her friend, and Mrs Lambert goes out, asking Ernest to keep an eye on bread she is baking. Ernest's friend Maggie calls by, and he attempts to discuss poetry and art with her. Beatrice comes and utters sarcastic comments about Maggie. In the process the bread gets burned. Lambert comes home drunk and threatens first Mrs Lambert and then Ernest. When he goes off to bed, Mrs Lambert discovers the burnt bread, and mother and son share a moment of quiet intimacy.

A: D. H. Lawrence W:c.1906–9 Pf: 1965, London Pb: 1934 G: Drama in 3 acts S: The Lamberts' house in a mining town (Eastwood?) near Derby, 1909 C: 4m, 5f

Lawrence's declared aim in writing his plays, which never gained the recognition earned by his novels, was, under the influence of Synge, to write about the real problems of ordinary people. Embracing a style of gritty realism, which was subsequently much satirized, Lawrence creates an authentic setting and allows stage time almost to correspond with real time. Not very much happens, and the lack of dramatic drive perhaps helps to explain why Lawrence turned to narrative fiction. Indeed, the relationship of Ernest with his mother adumbrates the concerns of his novel Sons and Lovers (1913).

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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