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Compare and contrast ‘Tickets, Please’ by D. H. Lawrence with ‘Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver’ by Thomas Hardy

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Introduction

Hannah Jones 10G English Coursework: Wider Reading Compare and contrast 'Tickets, Please' by D. H. Lawrence with 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy and 'Tickets, Please' by D. H. Lawrence are two short stories. They are similar in that they both deal with relationships between and representations of men and women. However, they differ somewhat in their use of language, setting and the ideas contained within them. Hardy's story was written and set in the late 19th century, a time of comparative simplicity. The roles of men and women were distinct; women were socially accepted and legally defined as second-class citizens. The 'ideal', obedient woman, somewhat like Milly Richards in 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' - 'a nice, light, small, tender little thing' - was held up as the prototype for women to follow. In contrast, the First World War, in which 'Tickets, Please' is set (although Lawrence wrote it in the 1920s), personified insecurity and an uneasiness in masculinity. This was due to the fact that since men had been called up to fight, women had taken over their old jobs; for the first time they were proving that the so-called 'second sex' were able and could work. The use of setting in 'Tickets, Please' very much exemplifies wartime. Much of it, particularly when the six women attack John Thomas, is set in 'darkness and lawlessness', embodying dread, anxiety and uncertainty. This enhances the ambiguity and the sting that the 'mute, stupefied' women cannot explain at the end. ...read more.

Middle

In both stories there are continuous references to women as objects; they are constantly referred to as 'girls' which puts them on a lower level to men and on a par with children. In 'Tickets, Please', 'the miners travel, for a change of cinema, of girl, of pub' - implying that women, like cinemas and pubs, are mundane things that men occasionally get tired of and want to trade for another one which is much the same. John Thomas, also, is unable to let himself see women as individuals. Similarly, Tony Kytes 'loves 'em [women] in shoals'. This completely de-humanizes women, suggesting that they are equal to supplies that are carried 'in shoals'. The main female character in 'Tickets, Please' - Annie - is 'something of a Tartar', while the women who conduct the trams in the Midlands are described as 'fearless young hussies' - 'hussy' is an insult, usually meaning a promiscuous woman; male insecurity led them to condemn aggressive women - whereas in 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver', the descriptions are 'a nice, light, small, tender little thing', 'a handsome girl', 'a dashing girl'; Hannah, Milly and Unity's characters are not initially described, and never in detail, so the reader infers that they are considered insignificant. In both stories the women are often described through the eyes of the men who interact with them (Annie at the fair is 'a plump, quick, alive little creature' - John Thomas's perspective) ...read more.

Conclusion

However, we feel uncomfortable with this idea, as, especially at the end, it is troublingly laid-back to the point of exasperation. It is possible that 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' is a satire on the rigid attitudes of the 1890s, traditional romantic clich�s and male views and expectations of women. Women were often advised to be passive, tender and submissive, as Milly is in the story; and Milly is pathetic. Perhaps the uncomfortable dissatisfaction the readers feel at the end is reminiscent of society at that time, with moral codes and standards wrung around its members so tightly as to cause frustration. 'Tickets, Please' parallels this in that it also subverts our expectations in having the women assault John Thomas in an attempt to rebel against not only their feelings, but also society's constrictions, allowing John Thomas, a man, to wield so much power over them; but they fail. In conclusion, the two stories differ as they are being read, with 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' appearing as an exasperatingly light-hearted farce and 'Tickets, Please' emerging as a complex tale of wartime hostility and changing gender roles. Certainly, they differ greatly in their style, setting and characters. But in the end they deal with the same issue; the emotional power that men automatically had over women due to conventions in the past. 'Tickets, Please' could be seen as a historical continuation of 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver', with the masculinity taken for granted in Hardy's era just beginning to come under threat. The two stories both force the reader to contemplate their message, but the ways in which they manipulate are very different. ...read more.

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