Use of Imagery in D.H. Lawrence's The Horse Dealer's Daughter


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Use of Imagery in D.H. Lawrence's The Horse Dealer's Daughter


Circumstances force three brothers and their sister from home in D.H. Lawrence's "The Horse Dealer's Daughter." The brothers, and their friend Jack Fergusson, worry because the sister, Mabel, will not tell them what she intends to do with herself. The author uses Imagery to symbolize a rebirth in Jack and in Mabel.

Lawrence uses dog and horse imagery to describe the family members. Joe stands in "horsey fashion," Fred Henry is an "animal which controls," and Malcolm has a "jauntymuseau." In fact, the entire family has an "animal pride." Lawrence describes the brothers in terms of horses apparently to emphasize the importance of the horses in their lives; once the horses are gone, life as they know it will be over. Joe, the eldest, is reluctant to leave before his siblings resolve their plans, but eventually he retreats with his "tail between his legs."

The author uses water imagery to symbolize death. On an afternoon "moist" with "heavy coldness," Mabel walks straight into a pond until the water is over her head. The pond's dimensions suggest a grave. Jack, who can not swim, risks his own life when he steps into the "dead cold" water to save her. He stumbles while in the water and feels as though he is "suffocating" for "eternity." When he recovers, he knows he is back in "the world" Jack and Mabel, by going into and under the "rotten" water, seem to experience a sort of death.

Fire then would symbolize the rebirth Jack and Mabel experience and the passion that fuels it. The house is "empty" when Jack carries Mabel there, but fire is "burning in the grate." Likewise, "Mabel was unconscious of her surroundings," but "she was conscious of herself.

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"Use of Imagery in D.H. Lawrence's The Horse Dealer's Daughter." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Dec 2017
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" The horses are gone, the brothers are gone, and the surroundings of her old life are gone, but there is a new life burning within her; a "flame seems to "burn" Jack's hand when he touches her.

Jack and Mabel experience a transformation; their lives are completely changed. The animal, water, and fire imagery symbolize their life, death, and rebirth.


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