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Compare the ways in which the authors of ‘The Withered Arm’ and ‘The Rocking Horse Winner’ portray the emotion of loneliness in the two stories.

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Comparing Texts Task: Compare the ways in which the authors of 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Rocking Horse Winner' portray the emotion of loneliness in the two stories. In the two stories 'The Withered Arm' and 'The Rocking Horse Winner' emotions play a central role in creating the effectiveness of the stories; with the feeling of loneliness through isolation being the main emotion. Each story portrays this same feeling in two differing ways using techniques and language within the period they were written; the 'The Withered Arm' being the slightly older of the two. The language is one of the most significant features of expressing loneliness; however just as relevant in both stories are the characters and how they are portrayed, setting and the style of the story. 'The Rocking Horse Winner' by D.H.Lawrence is written in a fairytale style: 'there was a woman who was beautiful' being the opening phrase. However in a fairytale there is usually a happy ending but D.H.Lawrence contradicts with this stereotype as in the last section of the story Paul dies. Paul's death emphasises his loneliness as it was unexpected, none of his family members had predicted it as they did not understand him. Throughout his life he was un loved, and this feeling of rejection and his desire for his mother to love him had driven him to his death. ...read more.


In 'The Rocking Horse Winner' only one character is focused on by the author and that is the character of Paul. He is a very lonely character and throughout the story he is trying to establish a more loving relationship with his mother. Right from the beginning we are told that the mother 'felt they (her children) had been thrust upon her, and she could not feel love', so the reader is instantly drawn in to sympathise with the children. Paul decides that if he was more lucky his mother might love him and so he turns to horse racing in order to establish luck. However Paul gets so addicted to gambling he can no longer see that being lucky will not help him to win his mothers love. Paul's addiction to gambling is due to his loneliness and his quest to find love and a sense on belonging. We hear little about Paul's father throughout the story and so assume he does not get involved in the parental side of his role within the family. The father only speaks once in the story replying 'I don't know', when the mother asks him a question about why Paul keeps repeating 'Malabar'. This shows that the father knows very little about his son; a good father should have realised something was wrong previously if he had had a good relationship with his son. Without the attention of either parent Paul is left very lonely within his home and family. ...read more.


In both stories the authors distinguish between physical and emotional isolation in order to enhance the feeling of loneliness. In 'The Rocking Horse Winner' Paul is physically isolated as the nurse and his sisters misunderstand him and therefore keep away from him. He is also emotionally isolated as neither of his parents love him. In 'The Withered Arm' physical isolation is shown for Rhoda as she milked 'somewhat apart from the rest', and also for Gertrude as she finds it difficult to make friends in the area due to her financial class. Emotional loneliness is also shown in this story as the boy gets ignored and used by his mother, and his father acts as if he does not even have a son. 'The rocking Horse Winner' is written in a simplistic, fairytale style in order for the ending to have more impact as it goes against a usual stereotypical ending for a fairytale. 'The Withered Arm' is written in much more detail using more language techniques such a similes and pathetic fallacy. This gives the story much imagery in order for the reader to fully appreciate the situations in the story. In 'The Rocking Horse Winner' the author concentrates on one character in order for the reader to fully empathise them; in contrast the author of 'The Withered Arm' continually changes the character focused on in order for the reader to empathise with all the character and thus get a better understanding of them, it also makes the reader think more into the character that they should rightly sympathise with. ...read more.

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