How Does Lawrence make clear to the Reader the Difficulties in the Relationship Between Men and Women?
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'Tickets, Please' (You may refer to 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' as well if you wish) How Does Lawrence make clear to the Reader the Difficulties in the Relationship Between Men and Women? A large factor contributing to the difficulties between the sexes in Lawrence's tow stories is lack of understanding between the sexes - Annie does not understand John Thomas' need to remain a nocturnal 'presence', his desire to remain free; his reputation; or why he should choose her at the end. At the fairground, and even before this event, Annie seems to think she knows John well, that she can easily anticipate his actions and knows what sort of man he is - 'she could sum him up pretty well'. All her expectations are confounded at the end; she is taken completely by surprise at his choice of girl. Elizabeth in 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' thinks her husband is simply out at the pub again, she has developed low expectations for him, but at the same time she fears that something worse has happened 'her anger was tinged with fear', though she tries to convince herself otherwise by assuming he's just drunk.
John Thomas does not understand what is happening initially at the end - he doesn't realize that he has caused the girls to feel the way they do, because he expects them all to understand the short-term nature of a relationship with him. Annie has behaved so independently around others previously, as such a carefree wild spirit, that John Thomas cannot be solely blamed for not expecting her to feel so deeply and hunger for greater involvement. He is taken completely by surprise by the vicious attack made against him 'his blue eyes flamed with strange fear as well as fury', 'they were rather horrifying to him'. This is not the typical conduct of a group of young women, and it leaves him rather dumbfounded 'a strange, ragged, dazed creature'. Annie herself does not even really expect the course of events to follow the path it does, she does not plan for things to be taken as far as they are. It is the women that have the power at the end of both stories; the men, normally most dominant, have lost all control and shredded their masculinity.
Annie and John Thomas both think that they understand each other, that they know the chances they take, yet Annie is taken completely by surprise when he leaves her, and he certainly does not expect the almost savage attack on him at the end. The men in both stories are neglectful of the duties expected of them - John Thomas moves quickly from one girl to the next, breaking hearts in the process; in 'Odour of Chrysanthemums' the man has obviously made a habit of spending all his time and money in a pub on alcohol rather than being attentive to his wife and children. Both the main women feel shame - Annie for her actions, for the humiliation she has inflicted upon John Thomas - particularly at the end of the story, from the moment John Thomas chooses her onwards. Elizabeth feels shame for the shadow of a life she shared with her husband, Walter, for how little she felt she knew him as she washed his dead body, and for having her low expectations of him, almost hating him. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jenny Rowan 11M 7 March, 2001
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