Lawrence's story raises some interesting questions about love and gender relations.
First, Mabel's strength of character stands in contrast to her brothers, although, as men, the brothers are better able to find situations after the collapse of the family horse trading business. Mabel's agency is limited primarily to running the house and to her own internal life, which she carefully regulates. Her silence and impassiveness are products of this sort of emotional discipline, which the men in the story seem to lack.
This discipline comes at a cost for Mabel, however, who resolves to commit suicide rather than ask others for help. The "love" between Mabel and Jack that develops after Jack saves her from drowning is the result of Mabel finally revealing the desperation and fear of loneliness that has haunted her since the death of her mother. Her vulnerability causes Jack to realize,...
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