The Horse Dealer's Daughter

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In The Horse Dealer’s Daughter, by D.H. Lawrence, romance plays a critical part in the development of the story. It is the result of an accidental rendezvous of the two main characters. It creates a sense of redeeming power – love. Love, in a way, can solve or complicate dilemmas. In this story, love is not as simple as boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; boy marries girl. The psychological operations of the characters defy the readers’ anticipation of how such a story would work. In fact, Lawrence works around the typical romance in order to show the conflicting affection between the supposed lovers.

The lack of love towards Mabel is what leads to her inevitable attempted suicide in the middle of the story. For example, her brothers have already packed and are ready to leave the farm, where they have called home their entire lives. However, for Mabel, she is not yet ready to leave. She “[has] been servantless in the big house, keeping the home together in penury for her ineffectual brothers.”(P. 282) Throughout her life, she has not fulfilled herself as a woman. She is an undesirable virgin and loves her dead mother more than any living man. She is a needy woman and this forces Jack to love her.

The incident that occurs in the pond where Jack saves Mabel is the turning point for both characters. Up until this point in the story, nothing is holding Mabel to life except for her physical functions. Her love for her mother persists and this leaves no room to love anyone else. By trimming the grass around her mother’s grave, she receives “sincere satisfaction” and she “[feels] in immediate contact with the world of her mother.”(P.283) Thus, it only makes sense for her to walk into the dark pond. She does what anyone in need of love and being loved would do – she looks for a way out. Lawrence describes Mable’s life that followed her mother as being “far less real than the world of death she inherited from her mother.”(P. 283) This line serves as an...
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