The Horse Dealer's Daughter Questions and Answers
by D. H. Lawrence

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In "The Horse Dealer's Daughter," in what way does the opening scene help us to understand Mabel and the events that follow?

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The opening scene of "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" by D. H. Lawrence displays the hopelessness of Mabel's situation, which leads to her suicide attempt and desperate demands for the love of the doctor who saves her.

The story opens with Mabel, Joe, Fred Henry, and Malcolm at breakfast. Their father is dead, and their fortunes have turned. Though they've worked with horses their whole lives, they won't be doing it again and will have to move on to new vocations and new places to live.

Joe asks Mabel what she's planning to do now—and doesn't wait to hear the answer. The brothers' way of speaking to Mabel makes it clear that none of them are very concerned with what she'll do now that their lives have changed. Lawrence says that Joe "did not care about anything, since he felt safe himself."

Her brothers discuss what Mabel can do next casually, but she says nothing because "they had talked at her and round her for so many years, that she hardly heard them at all." She's...

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