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