In the various examinations of March’s character, critics are often in disagreement about the characterization of March. For example, Judith Ruderman views the various changes made to March’s character as progressive evolution towards a character with a fair deal of agency and control over her life. Michael Squires, conversely, claims that the end of the novella represents Henry’s complete domination over March, and argues that, throughout the story, she truly is only a symbol of possession over which Banford and Henry must fight, given Henry’s jealous need for control. In both of these analyses, the role of Banford as something other th...
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... his aggression. He characterizes the way Henry courts March as a mark of his desire to conquer and acquire March as an object. Their relationship is grounded in a sense of competitive possession and a need for domination, rather than any genuine feeling. Banford is the obstacle to acquiring March which Henry must overcome, a sensation which is linked to the metaphor of the fox. The violence which Henry eventually commits against March and the fox also, for Squires, are connected to the muddled sexuality of the story, especially March’s sexuality. Her simultaneous fascination with and repulsion of the fox is stifled by its death, which represents Henry’s domination over March’s conflicting sexuality, removing from her any agency and instead placing her at the stagnant center of a story in which the other characters all scheme underhandedly to accomplish their goals.
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