Generally the title of any literary work is derived either from its main character or from its central theme. From this point of view the ox has no relation as its symbolically refers the character of the heroine of this story who is hardy, sturdy, patient and painstaking as an ox. The title directly refers to her.
From the very beginning of the short story the author has not failed to show the analogue of the ox in Mrs Thurlow’s physical feature--- she had a bulky and rather robust body, with her flat, heavy feet, that ‘pounded painfully’ along ‘under mud-stained skirts’. Her face and body looked unseemly with her lumpy angle of bone. She is appeared as ‘a beast of burden’. Moreover, when she works in the field-to plant and pick potatoes and peas, to dig for cabbages and roots, she pinned up her skirt on the back that seemed to be ‘a thick stiff, tail’. She appears like ‘some bonny ox. Mrs Thurlow has a bicycle which is never ridden. It remains always well-loaded, and she walks beside it like an ox. Her relation to this cycle reminds the relation of an ox to cart.
The title is more apt if judge from Mrs. Thurlow’s living character and conduct of life. She is nothing exceptional or remarkable. She is very poor and her life is one of her struggle and ceaselessly drudgery. Though not a beast she had the living of a beast. Like an ox she works steadily and meticulously. Despite the strain of her daily duty she does her work punctually, seriously and devotedly. She labours continuously, unquestioningly and rather selflessly. She has to bear hardship and pain and that she does with the temperament of an ox.
Mrs Thurlow is basically a rational being. She has her hope and aspiration. She plans for her two boys. She stores money for their better future. From this point she is a caring mother. she tries heart and soul to fulfill her dream. She wants eagerly to raise her humble saving of 54 pounds and to one hundred pounds.
Mrs Thurlow inspite of her little emotional ambition has an impassivity. Money appears more valuable than the life of Mr. Thurlow who was arrested and died in prison and her lost money could not be restored. The two boys for whom she builds up a dream is totally collapsed when they deny to come back. Mrs. Thurlow endows that also and carries on her daily drudgery steadily and stolidly almost of the manner of an unresponsive, irrational animal, like an ox.