Lawrence, "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" (1922)

This feeling only what you allow yourselves to feel at last kills all capacity for feeling, and in the higher emotional range, you feel nothing at all. This has come to pass in our present century. The higher emotions are strictly dead. They have to be faked. (A propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover)

Introduction | Analytic examples | Episodes | Links

Introduction to Lawrence's critical approach

Analytic examples (refs. to Norton)

1. Evaluative narrator:

-- omniscient: examples, e.g. "asked Joe, with foolish flippancy. He felt quite safe himself" (2590). Information about inner life of all characters -- although for Mabel is very limited (e.g., 2594 at graveyard)

(contrast tone this creates with Mansfield or Woolf, where there are no judgements from the narrator)

2. Subconscious: inner stance of character

-- e.g.: Joe "The horses were almost like his own body to him" -- hence animal / horses / "He would marry and go into harness" -- fixity of Joe (2590)

-- vs. Jack (later) passion within, force for change, e.g., "his heart hurting him in a pain that was also life to him" (2599)

3. Truth of moment (momentary):

-- Joe (as animal): dominant, even over dog (2590-1)

-- Ferguson seeing Mabel: "it was like looking into another world. Some mystical element was touched in him." . . . "Now the life came back into him, he felt delivered from his own fretted, daily self." (2595)

4. No stable ego:

-- contrast: Jack Ferguson, his background (2595) / vs. his new being (whole page: 2599), e.g., "because it was too newly true"; "He had crossed over the gulf to her"

-- Mabel, turning point: e.g., "humble eyes of transfiguration" (2598)

5. Man and Woman changing:

-- "his nature revolted from remembering her as she was when she was nothing to him" (2600)

Episodes. Rhythm of story can be shown through division into episodes, each of which has its own integrity (conflict of feelings, etc.), closing with a specific turn or illumination.

1 Introduction to family 2590-2 "she sat on immutable" "face of the young woman darkened": Mabel is a problem, inscrutable
2 Jack Ferguson 2592-3 "'All's one --'" 2593: Jack unsettled by Mabel
3 History of family 2593-4 "who was glorified" 2594: "This was at an end." Insight into Mabel's predicament
4 Mabel at grave 2594-5 "inherited from her mother" "far less real than the world of death": Mabel committed to death
5 Jack sees Mabel 2595 "fretted, daily self" "power in her eyes which laid hold of his whole being": Jack already captured
6 Jack's life 2595 "direct to his nerves" "His nerves were excited and gratified": Jack alert to emotional world of colliers, etc.
7 The drowning 2595-6 "down the bank and across the fields" 2596: Mabel begins to breathe again, "could feel her live beneath his hands"
8 Back home 2596-7 "Or perhaps he did not want to" 2597: "It was as if she had the life of his body in her hands"
9 The new love 2597-8 "the look of death behind the question" 2598: "had a horror . . . Yet something in him ached also"
10 Love returned 2598-9 "vibrating voice, unlike himself" 2599: "'I love you . . .'": Jack confirms, commits
11 The change 2599-2600 2600: "that terrible intonation": complexity of "higher" love

Links: D. H. Lawrence resources at the University of Nottingham, includes short biography; D. H. Lawrence page (not academic, but some interesting commentary, quotations from Lawrence, etc.)

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Document prepared September 24th 2006 / updated September 22nd 2008