Morel begins to fall ill, despite all of his requests for medicine. His illness is attributed to the time he fell asleep on the ground when he went with Jerry to Nottingham. He falls seriously ill and his wife has to nurse him. She gets some help from the neighbors, but not every day. Eventually, Morel grows better, but he has been spoiled during his illness and at first wants more attention from his wife. However, she has begun to cast him off and to turn completely to her children to find a sense of meaning in her life.
During the period of peace following Morel’s illness, another baby is conceived, and this child, Arthur, is born when Paul is seventeen months old. Arthur is very fond of his father, and this makes Mrs. Morel happy.
Meanwhile, time is passing, William is growing bigger, and Paul begins to have fits of depression in which he cries for no reason. One day, one of the other women of the neighborhood, Mrs. Anthony, confronts Mrs. Morel because William has ripped her son Alfred’s collar. Mrs. Morel asks William about it, he gives her his side of the story, and she reprimands him. However, Mrs. Anthony also tells Morel about the incident and he comes home very angry with William. This provokes yet another battle between Mr. and Mrs. Morel, as it is only her intervention that prevents him from beating William.
Mrs. Morel joins the Women’s Guild, a club of women attached to the Cooperative Wholesale Society, who meet and discuss social questions. When William is thirteen, she gets him a job at the Co-op office. This provokes another argument with her husband, who would have preferred his son to become a miner like himself. However, William does well in his job as he does well in everything. He wins a running race and brings his mother home the prize, an inkstand shaped like an anvil.
However, William clashes with his mother when he begins to dance. Mrs. Morel turns away girls who come to call, much to William’s dismay.
At nineteen, William gets a new job in Nottingham and also begins to study very hard. Then he is offered a job in London at a hundred and twenty pounds a year and is ecstatic, failing to see his mother’s dismay at his departure. William and his mother have one final shared moment as they burn his love letters, and then he goes to London to start his new life.