Feminist Reading of The Fox
The Fox is a novelette, written by the great English novelist, D.H Lawrence. He was famous for his insight on human psychology and presenting it through his novel. The story of The Fox depicts the lives of two female characters, March and Banford, living in a farm. Their serene life was shaken with the entrance of a male character in the story.
March and Banford try to make a living together on a farm. As the story unfolds, it appears that things are not working out, as they should. March is the man about the house, self-willed, domineering and determined, a turncoat of her sex in Laurentian terms. On the other hand, Banford is fragile, nervous, and fidgety. There is more than a hint of primary attachment between these two women and they are determined to remain so. However, a cunning he-fox is specifically identified as male (Henry), who haunts March in her dreams. Henry the soldier arrives at the farm looking for his departed grandfather. Bradford initially accepts him as a brother, but later she realises him as a rival as he covets March and proposes marriage to her.
Lawrence depicts a number of times in the novelette that there is something missing in March and Bradford’s relationship. With the arrival of the Fox, March’s slept-feminism starts resisting with her turncoat personality. Her disguise of a man seems cracking and according to Lawrence, she starts entering into her womanhood, which she has masked earlier in the story.
Henry is a representative of a typical patriarchal society and belongs to the outside world which is male-world. He enters inside the pure world of women to create corruption. The Fox stimulated something deep in March. The muzzle of the Fox is very prominent and it is the phallic symbol. Banford at various points in the novelette act as a husband of March and imposes her domineering qualities on March.
The woman is showed as the hunted and man as hunter. When Henry thinks of trapping March as a quarry, he is showing his symbolic patriarchy. He thinks to succumb March completely. Henry kills one woman and masters another because “it was what life must have”.
Henry is predicted as life in the Fox and Banford as diseased soul which should be eradicated to save life. Henry’s attitude towards March is a typical dominative and patriarchal attitude as he aims to snatch away her freedom and her independent spirit and he is willing “to veil her woman’s spirit”. He wanted to posses March as his property. Lawrance elaborates that a woman is not complete without a man and their union is a natural relationship. In addition, in order to make this relationship successful, the woman must surrender herself to the man.