Romance in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter”
“The Horse Dealer's Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence could be described as a story in which boy meets girl. Its plot on the surface bears a resemblance to that of any number of traditionally romantic stories. This story is about a boy saving a girl from drowning, sees something in her that he’s never seen before, and at the end of the story asks her for her hand in marriage. But we will soon see, there is nothing distinctive about Lawrence's story, his psychological works of his characters redeem through the emotional development of the two main. This shows specifically in the rescuer also known as Dr. Fergeson who defies all of our expectations, of how the story should work out. Lawrence cuts through the romantic characteristic in a plot line to reflect the dark and conflicting feelings of the so-called lovers, and by doing this shows just why the story is such a symbolic romance.
Mabel Pervin, the protagonist in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,” has little life left in her as the story begins. She cannot afford to live in her father’s house with her brothers any longer. Her three brothers Joe, Fred Henry, and Malcolm are all interrogate to her about her plans to seek economic stability and suggest that she become a “skivvy,” or servant, but she refuses to give her brothers answers (379). After losing all sources of income, her home, her mother, and her father, Mabel has, almost in a sense, lost her identity. She is twenty-seven years old and has not yet married, and her chances of marrying someone in the future are slim. Mabel has become a victim of the society in which she lives. Even the title of the short story restates the concept of her lack of identity because “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” denies Mabel of a name, and implies that Mabel belongs to her father.
The story illustrates, that Mabel has died emotionally and spiritually. Her metaphorical death becomes evident as D. H. Lawrence uses subtle phrases to...
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