The Horse Dealer’s Daughter
The Horse Dealer’s Daughter, written by D. H. Lawrence, examines the lives of siblings whose father, a horse dealer, has recently died and left them in debt. Although the horse dealer’s sons have plans for their lives pretty well thought out, their sister Mabel is unsure of what the future holds for her. Lawrence demonstrates in this novel how much easier it is for men to go about their lives, even in the face of challenges like the loss of a father and the burden of debt. Mable does not have the same social or economic opportunities that are available to her brothers. The only options available to her are work as a maid or a baby sitter.
Just as Mabel decides to end her life rather than work as a skivvy, she is rescued by Dr. Fergusson. Mabel is compelled by the sense of security she feels with Fergusson and knows that he would be able to provide for her the life that she desires. Like her father who was an expert at selling horses, she sets out to sell Dr. Fergusson on the idea that she is the woman for him. In The Horse Dealer’s Daughter, Lawrence does an excellent job in demonstrating how women in the early twentieth century were largely at the mercy of men for providing them with a life of security. In Mabel’s case, her brothers show little concern for her welfare, so she must essentially sell herself to Fergusson as a viable prospect for marriage.