Horse Dealers Daughter Essay

1400 words - 6 pages

Dysfunctional Junkies: The need to dominate and to be controlled The Horse Dealers Daughter is a story about dominance and control. By the end of this story the two main characters have moved very little from the places they started. Their unity serves only to strengthen and instill their addictions. ?Love honor and obey? were the old words used in marriage ceremonies when the woman was pledging her vows to a man. This statement conjures up thoughts of subservience and control, which are good words to describe the way Mabel and Dr. Fergusson?s marriage would have gone. The easily over looked aspect of this story is that the events that take place are not influenced by external factors but internal ones; those being submission and domination. In looking at this plot from a purely external perspective we see a romantic theme; a woman oppressed by three manipulative siblings released by love when saved by a romantic prince type figure. In looking deeper at what the imagery and subtle characterization say about these people this we see that their actions are more complex and egocentric than the Cinderella story that a quick reading might elude to. From the beginning of the story we see Mabel as the silent servant to her siblings. Lawrence paints Mabel as a woman being controlled by her brothers. He uses heavy animal imagery in this beginning portion. He describes the actions of some of the brothers as horse like, and their feelings as animalistic. But specifically he describes Mabel as a girl that ?would have been good-looking, save for the impressive fixity of her face, ?bull-dog,? as her brothers called it.? His description of Mabel?s ?bull-dog? face is the linking point to the dog being a representation of her. We see the way the family talks to her when Joe talks to the dog as he feeds it from the table. ?You won?t get much more bacon, shall you, you little b----? The dog faintly and dismally wagged its tail, then lowered its haunches, circled round, and lay down again.? In the brothers interactions with the dog we receive a wealth of information about Mabel and Lawrence paints a portrait of the relationship and position she has in the family. ?-the dog rose uneasily from the hearth-rug and looked at the party at the breakfast-table. But still they sat on in ineffectual conclave.? ?The dog looked up at him in mournful distrust. From this we can gather that she is seen as more of a dog than a person, talked at and not to, and like the dog she has been domesticated over the last 10 years. There are some values that she holds, or at least held, herself. ?So long as there was money, the girl felt herself established, and brutally proud, reserved.? In the first part of the story what we are told about her is not very redeeming, and that is that while she has been controlled and used most of her life her only depth of character holds vanity over her connection to wealth. It is this set up that allows us to see what kind of person it is trying to drown...

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