The Horse Dealer's Daughter

by D. H. Lawrence

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Student Question

Discuss the plot of "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" using the Freytag Pyramid.

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Using Freytag's Pyramid, the plot of the story becomes clear as it is traced through the exposition, the rising action, the conflict, the falling action, and the resolution. Four siblings face eviction from their family's horse-breeding farm upon their father's death, and tensions escalate about each of their respective plans. The sister attempts suicide, and the man who rescues and revives her impulsively agrees to marry her despite their uncertain feelings about each other.

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Freytag's Pyramid is a tool that enables literary analysis through the structure of a work of literature. It has five parts: the exposition, the rising action, the conflict, the falling action, and the resolution. A careful rereading of the story makes it possible to divide the story into its five parts as the plot unfolds.

The exposition of "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" is the part of the story that introduces the narrator, setting, and characters. The point of view of narration is third-person omniscient since the narrator knows the feelings and thoughts of the characters. The initial setting is a horse farm that has hit hard times, and three brothers and their sister sit in relative silence, pondering their respective fates.

In the rising action, the conflicts are introduced, beginning with the financial situation the siblings face. Joe is reluctantly accepting that he will be subject to his wife's father for his living, and it doesn't sit well with him. Only Mabel, the sister, will not discuss what her plans are for when the family must leave the premises. She has held the home together despite her "ineffectual" brothers' behavior until the death of their father.

The climax of the story comes when Mabel, after cleaning her mother's grave, attempts suicide by walking into a pond to drown herself. The doctor, Jack Ferguson, watches from a distance and instinctively wades in to rescue her. Her saves her life by administering CPR.

The falling action is composed of Mabel realizing that Jack has saved her and undressed her. She begins to press him about loving her. She attempts to seduce him, and he halfheartedly resists her at first.

The story's resolution comes with Jack declaring his love for Mabel and his insistence that they be married right away. Mabel doesn't refuse him, but she understands that she has pressured him into his impulsive commitment to her.

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