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Daughter-in-Law


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AT: My Son's Son A: D. H. Lawrence W: 1911–12 Pf: 1936, London Pb: 1965 G: Drama in 4 acts; Nottinghamshire dialect S: Mrs Gascoigne's kitchen and Luther's new home, mining village near Eastwood, Nottingham, early 20th c. C: 3m, 3fJoe Gascoigne admits to his mother that he broke his arm while fooling around at work and so will receive no accident pay. They are visited by Mrs Purdy, who demands money, since Mrs Gascoigne's other son Luther has made her daughter Bertha pregnant. This is particularly unwelcome news, since the colliers are about to strike, and moreover Luther has only recently married another girl, Minnie. That evening Joe and Mrs Purdy call on Luther. She demands money for her daughter but does not want to harm his marriage to Minnie. However, when Luther later returns home tipsy, the bickering develops into a row, and he blurts out the truth about Bertha. He does not feel Minnie's equal, since she has money of her own from her years in domestic service. Dismayed and angry, Minnie leaves him. Two weeks later, she returns to learn that the men are now out on strike. She tells Mrs Gascoigne that she has never allowed her sons to grow into real men. Minnie has spent her savings, so that Luther is now obliged to care for her and so gain self-respect. That night both men are missing, and shots are heard from the colliery. Luther returns injured but safe. They have fought the blacklegs and won. Luther and Minnie confess their love for each other.

AT: My Son's Son A: D. H. Lawrence W: 1911–12 Pf: 1936, London Pb: 1965 G: Drama in 4 acts; Nottinghamshire dialect S: Mrs Gascoigne's kitchen and Luther's new home, mining village near Eastwood, Nottingham, early 20th c. C: 3m, 3f

Still in his mid-twenties, Lawrence was already developing his (unrecognized) talents as a dramatist. The Daughter-in-Law improves on A Collier's Friday Night through the bold stroke of writing the dialogue in dialect and by allowing conflicts to develop and be resolved. The psychological insights Lawrence displays help to explain why Tennessee Williams held him in such high regard.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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