D. H. Lawrence "The Horse-Dealer's Daughter" an analysis

Essay by lauralistUniversity, Bachelor'sA, November 2002

download word file, 2 pages ( 3 KB ) 4.0

"The Horse - Dealer's Daughter"

D. H. Lawrence

The role of women in society is constantly an issue. D.H. Lawrences's story shows through passive natures, obedient attitudes, and shattered egos a woman struggling to live her life according to her three verbally abusive brothers.

"The Horse - Dealer's Daughter" is about Mabel, who tries to commit suicide by drowning herself in a pond. A young doctor, Joe Ferguson, saves her. She then believes that he loves her. This idea was not a first thought to Joe, but he begins to find that he does loves her. However, Mabel thinks she is "too awful" to be loved. When Joe declares over and over that he wants her, and that he loves her, she becomes more frightened than of Joe not wanting her.

Does Joe really love Mabel? He convinces himself he does. I don't think love or marriage has ever appeared to him.

When Mabel finds out that he saved her, she convinces herself that he loves her.

The reason why I think she committed suicide is because she felt unloved. Her father had recently died, her brothers were mean and rude to her, the family was left in their dad's debt. They can no longer afford a housekeeper, so Mabel is has to take on the household chores. She becomes a servant, never talking back or standing up for herself. Mabel is constantly ordered around by her brothers. When asked what she would do now, she didn't answer. I don't think she had anything planned. She probably didn't have a good education, so there were few options for her. Instead of trying to improve her life, Mabel's lack of determination and drive causes her to look for another method of escape. I think she felt overwhelmed with pressure and that's why she decided to commit suicide. She could go on to be with her dead dad, not having to face the reality of her unhappiness. When Joe Ferguson saves her, her hope in life is renewed and she convinces herself that Joe loves her. Joe jumped in to save her live, in the deep water, even though he can't swim.

Why does Joe convince himself that he loves Mabel? Perhaps he has never felt love before. He didn't want to at first. He was a doctor, and she, his patient, so it was unprofessional. He probably always studied and never dated. Joe is a man unlike those Mabel had grown up with. She questions why he risked his own life in order to save hers.

When Joe leaves to go back to the surgery, he kisses her "with his heart's painful kiss." She breaks down sobbing about how she is so awful. Joe tries to convince her that he loves her and wants to marry her. She's not convinced, but becomes even more frightened. She realizes then that she really doesn't love him.

This story is about two people who are depressed and desperate. They don't want to be alone, they both need love and convince themselves to love the other.

I felt let down after reading this story. It was depressing, seeing two people who need love but can't find it.