Literature analysis: Characterization in The Fox, by D. H. Lawrence
An analysis of themes and characterization in The Fox, a novella by D.H. Lawrence, can start with the title. Clearly, Lawrence had the idea of a fox-like protagonist right from the outset. Henry is even described as looking like the creature, as well as displaying wily and cunning character traits. Sly and observant, he watches out for signs of weakness in his female victims, two close girlfriends sharing a farm, waiting for the right moment to strike and take one. The girls, on the other hand, seem as chickens in a henhouse - dizzy and vacant and fussing over trivia all the time. The themes of power, domination, weakness, submission and assertion radiate out from this triangle of three.
Lawrence’s novella details the perceived eccentric lifestyle of two ‘odd-bod’ English women at the turn of the century. To accentuate their determined and unusual manfulness (compared with their more feminine and submissive peer group,) D. H. Lawrence chooses to label them by their surnames only - March and her close friend Banford.
Particularly in the case of the former, the name is reminiscent of army language - and indeed March aspires to be independent, strong and capable of standing on her own two feet in a man’s world. This was not an easy task in Victorian-minded England at the time, and the girls were having a difficult time of it. Trying to run a poultry farm and support themselves with little experience was bound to be a more challenging task than they had anticipated.
Banford, on the other hand, was the more feminine of the two ladies, although not consequently the more attractive. With a petite frame, a delicate constitution, little physical strength or stamina and an intense bespectacled face, Lawrence leaves readers in no doubt as to her slim chances of marriage.
Into this flawed agricultural lifestyle and quirky but contented relationship slides young, wily Henry in need of a...