"The true living world of fire is dark, throbbing, darker than blood. Our luminous world that we go by is only the white lining of this- (Dionys to Daphne in "The Ladybird-). What narrative strategies does Lawrence employ to convey this sense of a world "darker than blood-? How do these strategies organise his explorations of sexual relations in Three Novellas?.
Although each of Lawrence's stories in the Three Novellas are fundamentally different in their narrative content and characters, each uses central metaphors, loaded with meaning, and similar narrative patterns, which function to suggest the thematic concerns of his stories. Each share a common interest - Lawrence's preoccupation with the true nature of marriage and human relations, a preoccupation that tends towards the darkly pessimistic. The stories also explore Lawrence's idea of delving beyond the "white lining- of the world - the superficial exterior of being - to confront the deep, dark and irrational emotions that dwell in the hearts of his characters. These themes are explored through a variety of complex characters from different classes.
Both The Fox and The Captain's Doll follow a similar narrative pattern - the lives of a couple are intruded upon by another character (a standard storytelling motif where a stranger is the catalyst for change) and a member of the couple is then "eliminated- in order for the male to discover spiritual fulfilment. The intruder in The Fox is the conservative and rather primitive Henry, who disrupts the lives of a lesbian couple, March and Banford, and chooses March as his "prey-. Smith writes that "the intrusion of a pernicious fox into the farm life of two land girls of the post-war period is Lawrence's dramatic device for defining the masculine and feminine principles-. In The Captain's Doll the intruder situation is more complex, as at the start of the story it is the Countess Hannele who is intruding upon Captain Hepburn's marriage.