The Horse Dealer's Daughter

by D. H. Lawrence

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Examine the details of this passage from the story. How does it contribute to the theme, character, conflict, or setting?

She had suffered badly during the period of poverty. Nothing, however, could shake the curious, sullen, animal pride that dominated each member of the family. Now, for Mabel, the end had come. Still she would not cast about her. She would follow her own way just the same. She would always hold the keys of her own situation. Mindless and persistent, she endured from day to day. Why should she think? Why should she answer anybody? It was enough that this was the end, and there was no way out. She need not pass any more darkly along the main street of the small town, avoiding every eye. She need not demean herself any more, going into the shops and buying the cheapest food. This was at an end. She thought of nobody, not even of herself. Mindless and persistent, she seemed in a sort of ecstasy to be coming nearer to her fulfillment, her own glorification, approaching her dead mother, who was glorified.

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In the passage from The Horse Dealer's Daughter, the third-person narrator is providing Mabel's thoughts as she prepares to take her own life. As the only girl among the siblings, Mabel understands that she is at an extreme disadvantage now that their father has died.

Mabel shows her determination, and the passage illustrates what the narrator calls her family's "animal pride" in this passage. Earlier in the story, it has been clearly shown that each brother planed to live his own life as he saw fit, and none of them are especially concerned about her future plans.

Painfully aware of her very limited prospects, Mabel decides to walk into the lake:

Still she would not cast about her. She would follow her own way just the same. She would always hold the keys of her own situation.

Twice the narrator refers to "the end," unmistakably indicating the finality of her decision: "Now, for Mabel, the end had come." All the things poverty has forced her to do have come to an end. She will now join her dead mother.

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