Throughout The Fox, D.H. Lawrence uses the gender roles that March adopts to demonstrate the power struggle between masculinity and femininity within her lives. The dynamic between the characters creates a constant feeling of tenseness and an uneasy mood within the story.
When March is first introduced to the reader, she is described as being, “ Robust… and looked almost like some graceful… young man, for her shoulders were straight, and her movements easy and confident.” On the other hand, Lawrence gives Branford the more feminine qualities. She is described as being, “ nervous and delicate.” By giving March more mescaline qualities, meaning she works the fields, is built stronger, uses the gun, and hunts the fox, Lawrence is able to show that in all relationships, there is always a masculine force present. To exemplify this point, Lawrence uses a female couple, to demonstrate the importance of the male figure. Even further, Lawrence makes the girl thirty years old to show that they are past their prime and have left the hope of marriage behind, thus they must fill the gender roles.
Even though March and Branford represent masculinity and femininity, everything changes when the Fox is introduced into the story. The Fox seems to captivate and mesmerize March to the point where their first interaction becomes sexual. She becomes so entranced by the Fox’s body that she starts to take in every detail and feature on it. She describes the fur’s color, the texture, and oddly enough, its buttocks. The sense most closely resembles love at first sight. The Fox blows her away and makes her forget about everything around her. But, there are many deeper meanings within their first encounter. The Fox represents more t...
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...rch can now become a woman. She no longer has to fulfill the duties of being a man, since Henry has filled that role. In a way, March is granted freedom and a new outlook on life, but she is also now encompassed by Henry’s dominance.
Throughout the story, there exists a power struggle between March and the other characters, due to the representation of genders roles. Lawrence takes advantage of March’s character to represent the dramatic changes that are taking place in society. March is representative of a “new women,” meaning she accepts that sexuality is a part of her life that cannot be ignored. On the other hand, Branford represents the “old world views,” where sexuality is not an accepted part of life and women are submissive to men. Overall, in the end, March is left a free women, able to leave the old world behind and become a new women, not a farm boy.
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