The Horse-Dealer's Daughter

Dark Beginnings and Light Endings in Two Short Stories College

The death of a man and the birth of a love affair are the subjects of two short stories by D. H. Lawrence and though their plots vary greatly, similar patterns of dark and light imagery, renewal and rebirth reinforce Lawrence’s theme of regeneration. In his short stories entitled “The Odour of Chrysanthemums” and “The Horse-dealer’s Daughter,” Lawrence makes use of dark and light image patterns to represent the stages of transformation undergone by Elizabeth and Mabel, the female protagonists of these two stories. Dark imagery illustrates the starting place of each woman - stale, stagnant, physically alive but nearly dead inside. Light imagery represents the finalization of their transformations - regeneration, rebirth. The tone of these stories correlates with the journey of their characters. Indeed, even more than correlation, the tone appears to represent directly the situation of Elizabeth in her story and Mabel in hers.

Elizabeth’s story begins with shadows. “Miners, single, trailing and in groups, passed like shadows diverging home” (2483). She tells her little son to come inside because “it’s getting dark” and when she looks over across the tracks, she describes the darkness “settling over the spaces of the railway and...

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