The Nature of Love in "The Horse Dealer's Daughter"What does this story say about the nature of love; What does it insinuate about the relationship between men and women?

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reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting love story as Lawrence incorporates the elements of the darkness of love in this tale of Mabel and Jack Fergusson. Mabel is seen dressed in black, tending her mother's grave, in an otherworldly scene, "Mindless and persistent, she seemed in a sort of ecstasy to be coming nearer to her fulfillment." Shortly after, she walks into the still lake. Paradoxically, the near drowning incident does bring Mabel to an unsuspected fulfillment, that of her relationship with Jack. Yet, there is no love between them when Fergusson proposes marriage. Jack, in saving her life, is bound to Mabel through the act and this is amplified by his removing her clothes and rubbing her dry. Metaphorically, she is snatched from death, yet the question looms if their marriage could be a rebirth for Mabel.This love appears more than fated; it is as if neither character has a choice in the matter as Jack says, "I want you...we're going to be married, quickly,quickly." Perhaps Lawrence tells us that many relationships between men and women happen, perhaps without rhyme or reason or even love.

tilly1 | Student

The love that is between Mabel and Jack Ferguson is symbolic. The nature of love described by Lawrence exhibits Mabel's life as cold,void, and depressed. Comfort was found  in tending the grave of her mother.  Mabel was emotionally dead.   Jack Ferguson lived a routine in life.  Jack was spiritually dead.  When Jack saved Mabel from drowning, they both realize the need for each other.  Love is connected to their lonliness.  The pond for instance, is like a baptism and the washing away of the old and the beginning of a new life. With the flames from the fire brings light and warmth.  It is the same with love. Lawrence shows us how dreary,cold and empty life can be without love versus the warmth,comfort, and fullness love can bring.   

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The Horse Dealer's Daughter

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