The Fox is a novella written by D.H Lawrence. The Fox can be interpreted through different critical approaches, but psychoanalytic approach can be the most appropriate approach to the text. Psychoanalysis deals with the conscious and unconscious state of mind, which are inter-linked. Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psychoanalytic theory, is mostly concerned with the unconscious aspect of mind.
As it has been shown in the novella that two adult women- March and Branford, live in a farmhouse. They have been depicted unmarried, childless, and without any male company. The whole story revolves around March who most of the time remain unconscious, which is evident with the frequent use of the word “unconscious” for her.
“March is not conscious that she thought of the fox”
In the psychoanalytical criticism, the unconscious aspect of a person is given utmost important. March has sexual desires that can be natural for everyone, but she has repressed her desires in order to hide her true personality. The man-like description of March appearance hides her real self, as it is evident that:
“She looked almost graceful, loose balanced young man.”
According to Freud:
“Our true personality and identity lie in our unconscious state of mind”
March has been represented as mentally absent person because she is divided between her conscious and unconscious aspects of mind, Lawrence shows that March’s life is incomplete and she has repressed her desire of marrying and unwillingly, she has to be a promising companion of a female (Branford) rather than a male Henry (male companion). She is not satisfied and content with her life, which can be the main reason of her unconscious conflicts.
“Although they were usually the best friends… tired of one another”
The sudden arrival of the fox awakens her repressed sexual desire and her absent mildness increases. According to Freud:
“There is always a return of the repressed”
The fox is shown as a phallic symbol. The fox is her repressed desire and all its features: his muzzles, thrusting forward, long nose, whiskers, and tail all appeared as a phallic symbol to her. The fox depicts a male-related sexual relationship. This generally becomes apparent as Lawrence describes the appearance of Henry and shows how March sees and even smells him as a fox.
March’s repressed desire for a male companion and in hunting the fox, she is actually hunting the male or at least she is hunting her own feelings. When Henry enters into her life, March’s search is over.