The Woman Who Rode Away

by D. H. Lawrence

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What elements of feminism are present in "The Woman Who Rode Away"?

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In β€œThe Woman Who Rode Away,” the main element of feminism is the depiction of the female protagonist's desire for independence. Fed up of life with her husband, she seeks adventure away from the family home, and to this end she rides off into the ancient territory of the Chilchui.

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Successive generations of literary theorists and scholars have debated whether or not D. H. Lawrence's short story β€œThe Woman Who Rode Away” is a feminist tract. Whatever the truth of the matter, there seems little doubt that elements of feminism can indeed be seen in the text.

For one thing, we have the unnamed protagonist's desire for independence. Trapped in an increasingly unhappy marriage to a man who treats her poorly, the woman seeks adventure in her life, which she endeavors to find among the Chilchui Indians, whose own lives seem so much more authentic and spiritually satisfying.

And yet, the woman's newfound independence doesn't last for very long. Held in captivity and drugged by the Chilchui, she becomes a sacrificial victim in an ancient ritual designed to appease the gods of the tribe and make the white man's gods fall to pieces.

The woman has become an object, a victim, sacrificed by men for the sake of their gods. In essence, one could say that in riding away from the ranch to Chilchui territory, she's merely exchanged one form of male oppression for another. This can be seen as an additional element of feminism in the text.

The conclusion to be drawn from this is grim indeed, especially from a feminist standpoint. No matter where women go, no matter how much they assert their independence, repression and objectification by men seem impossible to escape.

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