Horse Dealers Daughter


Human nature is one of the most fascinating subjects for many people. However,


there is no such thing. It doesn’t take much to find a beast within a human. All that


separates a human from an animal is a thin layer of artificial civilization. Humans would


like to believe that love and idealism is what makes them different. There is god that


created them in his own image, thus they must be special and separate from the rest of the


Nature. There is no such thing as human nature, there is only human intellect. Even one


of the greatest human qualities, conscious, is a product of the intellect. In extreme


conditions even it disappears and all what is left is a beast that only wants to survive. A


great book by William Golding, The Lord of The Flies, explores that in kids, whose


minds were not yet filled with up with concept of being civilized. But it does not take


such extreme conditions to see what humans really are. The story by B.Lawrence, The


Horse Dealer’s Daughter explores the animal nature of humans in everyday life. The


story could be described as a realistic one. Not everyone has a successful life. There are


many things that might stand between a person and happiness, many end up on the streets,


and some are just unable to handle the pressure of life. Still, naturalism does not create


plots out of the blue. All what it has to do is just to add some desperate situation in


person’s life without any chance for escape. Then observe that person to loose all the


connection with the real world, until he or she is goes to the extreme.


With this intention the author created a family somewhere in America. The eldest


brother, Joe, is the animal in human skin and Mabel, the sister, is the person that is being


pushed to the extreme. From the very beginning the tone of the story is quiet pessimistic.


Of course, that could be reality for many people. Just an observation of a family that has


lost everything, and they have move on in their lives. Even if this would be a realistic


story there is little room for any other feelings, but those of pessimism and despair. On


the other hand, there should be at least some hope for better future. None of the


characters here has any hope. “His [Joe’s] life was over, he would be a subject animal


now” (606). The reader is not told thoughts of every character, but a glimpse into Joe’s


mind is enough to realize that none of them has anything to hope for. There is another


important concept of naturalism present; Joes, and not only Joe, is compared to an animal.


After all, the human is just another step in evolution. There is not that much difference


between him and an animal. Lawrence goes as far as to argue for the fact that physically


a man is no different from an animal, he even acts the same, “…straddled his [Joe’s]


knees with a downward jerk in a horsey fashion” (606). Before that the reader is told


that the horses were the only thing that the family ever had business with, and that at least


for Joe they were part of him. All of the numerous comparisons to the animals are there


to set up the tone of the story. The author is trying to prove to the reader that humanity is


just a thin crust that can be broken at any moment.


The family had the history of wealth. It had great effect on shaping their


individuality behind the protection of their social status. The “animal pride that


dominated each family member” (609), blinded and prevented them to grasp the reality.


Once they were proud and noble animals, but now they were just a herd standing at edge


of a cliff. Their future is uncertain and their family ties are weak. Just as animal attacked


by a predator scatter all over, the family disintegrates under the powerful blows of


misfortune. Whether it is realistic or naturalistic is hard to tell, there are many different


families with different relationships. Still, it is hard to imagine that back than when a


woman was considered not to be able to care for herself, all of Mabel’s brother would


live her alone. It is ironic that all of them are so eager to find out what is she going to do,


leave her. Still, it is very unlikely that none of