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“The Destructors” And “The Rocking Horse Winner”

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“The Destructors” And “The Rocking Horse Winner”

Comparison and Contrast

By Edward R. Tierney

In this paper, I will compare and contrast the characters, themes, suspense and moral principles found in the stories The Destructors by Graham Greene and The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence.

It is interesting that both Graham Green and D.H. Lawrence wrote during different time periods but share misery as a common theme. I can understand how Lawrence wrote from this perspective, because of his upbringing in the coal mining town of Nottinghamshire, England (285). Life must have been hard for young Lawrence. Green also experienced the misery of life during the bombing raids of World War II (111). As a result, misery is a prevalent theme in both The Destructors and The Rocking Horse Winner. For example, both stories take place in England and life is tough. The Destructors takes place after World War II (111). The exact time period of The Rocking Horse Winner is not stated but times are hard for Paul’s family. Misery caused by poverty is the motivating force for the characters in both short stories. The reader is given a clear picture of how difficult life was during those times.

Green and Lawrence take different approaches to their character development. In The Rocking Horse Winner we get to know Paul and his family very well. We learn that they are individuals that make their own choices. Paul’s family is motivated by materialism and greed; they are fixated on luck. In The Destructors, the characters are distant. We never seem to get close to them. They are reliant on the gang for their identities, and are obsessed by one goal, “destruction”. In both stories, materialism dictates the characters’ actions. In The Rocking Horse Winner, Paul fulfills this need for materialism but, ironically, dies in the end. The characters in The Destructors have no appreciation for anything. This is evident when they burn the money that they find. T and Blackie and the rest of the gang are frustrated because of their lack of material belongings. They see no way out of their condition of poverty. The gang sees Old Misery’s house as something beyond their reach, so if they cannot have it, no one will. Trevor resents the fact that he has nothing and Old Misery has everything and he seems to take offence at Old Misery’s lack of care for the house.

The suspense in The Rocking Horse Winner builds and builds as Paul rides furiously to find a winner. I found myself becoming anxious; I wanted Paul to stop but at the same time, I wanted him to keep riding. The Destructors is also full of suspense.

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