They discuss what happened between Clara and her husband, and somehow the subject of Miriam comes up. Paul says that Miriam wants his soul, which he cannot give her. Clara, however, informs him that Miriam does not want his soul, only Paul himself.
Paul maintains his close relationship with his mother, allowing her to live vicariously through his experiences. He tells her everything that happens in his life, and she feels as though she is a participant.
William is mentioned and reflected on several times in this chapter. First of all, when they are discussing Paul’s success, Morel says that William might have been as successful as Paul, had he only lived. This statement affects Mrs. Morel deeply, and makes her feel strangely tired. When Paul tries on William’s suit, she thinks again of William but is comforted by the thought of Paul. The notion that Mrs. Morel possesses Paul is particularly strong here, and this concept, which is constant throughout the novel, may account for Paul’s failure to develop a strong relationship with another woman.
In the very end of this chapter, Clara provides the motivation for Paul to go back to Miriam. It is interesting that this motivation comes from Clara, since Miriam is her chief rival (besides Mrs. Morel) for Paul’s affection.