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Relationships between men and women are a subject of perennial interest. Examine how this topic is treated in short stories by writers of two different periods.

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Introduction

Relationships between men and women are a subject of perennial interest. Examine how this topic is treated in short stories by writers of two different periods 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy is a light-hearted and humorous story, which shows the relationship between men and women in the late nineteenth century in an amusing and entertaining way. This story is clearly set in an agrarian community, possibly in Wessex, as that is where most of Hardy's stories take place. This is suggested by the dialect, which implies that the story takes place in the South of England, in a working class community. It is an almost idyllic setting with almost no mention of any hardships, which contributes to the light-hearted atmosphere of the story. The main male character, Tony Kytes, is described as a relatively handsome man, "'Twas a little, round, firm, tight face, with a seam here and there left by the smallpox, but not enough to hurt his looks in a woman's eye". He is also irresistible to women, "he was quite the women's favourite". This is also shown by the fact that all the female characters in the story want him to marry them. Tony is a kind and gentle person, but he is also an incorrigible flirt. This is shown by his giving a ride to Unity even though he's engaged to be married. ...read more.

Middle

Tony is also very fickle and easily manipulated by women and he is always willing to fall in love with the last woman he has spoken to. For example, when Unity says "can you say I'm not pretty Tony?", Tony replies, "In fact I never knowed you was so pretty before!". The story ends with things more or less as they were in the beginning. Tony still marries Milly as he had originally intended. Therefore, the story ends well for Milly and Tony, especially for Tony as he at least married one of the women, even though she was his last choice "as his father had strongly recommended her". The fact that Milly is still willing to marry him after all that has happened would be understandable to readers at the time. She gets a husband and to the reader she is better off than the other two. However, to the modern reader, Milly is stuck with a liar for a husband and would have been better off not marrying him, as the other two did. Overall, it is a happy ending which implies that any problems in relationships between men and women are always resolved and everyone lives happily ever after. 'Tickets, Please' by D.H. Lawrence is a complete contrast to 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver'. Hardy's story is a light hearted and humorous story, whereas Lawrence's story is much darker and more sinister and shows the darker side of the relationship between men and women and even human nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way the girls attack John Thomas becomes almost sadistic. They had become "strange, wild creatures" and one of them, Nora, was "actually strangling him". There is some similarity between the two endings, as both John Thomas and Tony Kytes are forced to choose who they want to marry ("You've got to choose!"). However, unlike Tony who at least gets one of the women, John Thomas is rejected by Annie when he finally chooses to marry her ("I wouldn't touch him"). However, it can be seen that John Thomas chose Annie for exactly this reason. By describing the way he says it with a "strange" voice "full of malice" implies that in some way he feels that he is getting his revenge because he thinks that she does not want to marry him. If she rejects him he has escaped, and if she does marry him, she is the one who will suffer. Annie's attitude to the incident after John Thomas has left suggests that she regrets her decision to reject him. The way she shouts at the others "fiercely, as if in torture" implies that she actually wanted to marry him but pretends to hate him because she is still angry that he rejected her. Overall, the two stories show completely different views of the relationship between men and women. In 'Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver', Thomas Hardy shows the relationship between men and women in a cheerful and amusing way, whereas in 'Tickets, Please', D.H. Lawrence shows the more disturbing side of this relationship. ...read more.

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