Short Fiction of D.H. Lawrence

Presentation of Sexuality in The Fox College

Throughout D H Lawrence’s The Fox, the protagonist March is repeatedly represented as ‘a shadow’. This not only suggests March and Banford’s marginal status as unmarried women in a 1920s society, but represents a tension between what can be seen and what cannot. The presence of a shadow must automatically assume an absence of light. If this light is representative of March’s sexual epiphany, the construction of her gender is dependent on the influence of others, who produce this overarching ‘shadow’ that keeps March’s true sexuality in the dark. There is also a sense of what Butler describes as a ‘performance’ throughout the novel; March constructs her identity to portray different shadows, depending on the needs of the audience. Before Henry, her femininity had to be subdued to allow for a ‘more robust’ figure that could do a man’s work and run a farm (Lawrence, p.11). When Henry arrives, her identity, and thus femininity is dependent on a figure that demands a truly typical feminine sexuality. This perhaps prompts the question: does March’s sexuality ever truly ‘exceed’ her performances, or does it all remain an act?

Walt Whitman suggests that ‘the unseen is proved by the seen’. This suggests that outward actions are...

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