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Comparison - Destructor and the Rocknig Horse Winner

In: Miscellaneous

Submitted By jvesky
Words 1109
Pages 5
A. Graham Greene’s The Destructors and D. H. Lawrence The Rocking-Horse Winner
B. Even though Green’s The Destructors and Lawrence’s The Rocking-Horse Winner address the same issue, Greene’s story treats the issue of a torrid life differently.
A. Setting
1. Graham Greene’s "The Destructors"
a. London during post war era
b. Area is left with a sense of constant gloominess

2. D. H. Lawrence "The Rocking-Horse Winner"
a. London during post war era
b. Home seems to be covered with a dark cloud
B. Theme
1. Trevor’s family
a. Family lives beyond their means. The father was demoted and the mother feels she is better than the neighbors.
b. Trevor doesn't want anyone to have more than he does.
2. Paul’s Mother
a. Family living well beyond their means. Pleasant house, servants and a nice garden.
b. Paul's mother wants money and nothing more. It becomes so intense that all the children can hear is the house whispering.
A. Parents sometimes unknowingly place undue burdens on their children.
B. Circumstances may be similar however the manner in which they are dealt with can vary greatly.

Torrid Lives

It’s difficult to know how a child will handle their family’s issues. Graham Greene’s “The Destructor’’ and D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” both take the reader briefly into the lives of two children dealing with their family issues. Greene tells of a child in a gang who does not rest until he has destroyed anything around him of beauty. This emotional release is mainly due to resentment toward his family living a lie. Lawrence tells of a child who will do whatever it takes to silence the voices he hears brought on by his mother’s deception. Even though Greene’s “The Destructors” and Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” address the same issue, Greene treats the issue of a torrid life differently.

Greene’s story “The Destructors” takes place in post World War II in a bombed out area of London. The area remained depressed since the war as evident by the description of the obliterated Northwood Terrace area. No. 3, as it is known, is the only occupied house on one side of the car park. The car park is where the Wormsley Common Gang meets every morning to vote on the antic the gang will pull off that day. Northwood Terrace seems to be covered by grey clouds and a feeling of constant gloominess. Like Greene’s “The Destructors”, Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” took place in post war London, however the neighborhood is depicted as upper class. Although the family has servants, a pleasant house and a garden there is a sense of gloom, similar to the gloom of depression in Greene’s “The Destructors.” The gloominess in Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is created by the mother’s obsession of having no luck and no money. This obsession bled over to the children, namely her son Paul.

Greene’s “The Destructors” and Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” involved children living torrid lives. The gang in Greene’s “The Destructors” plotted daily antics to see what they could get away with. Their antics display selfish, deviant behavior. While most of the members were followers, the leader Trevor or T. as he was called, lives in a home full of deceit. T.’s family lived beyond their means and T.’s mother feels as though she is superior to her neighbors. His father was demoted from an architect to a clerk. T. appeared to be carrying a grudge. This grudge was apparent when T. visited No. 3, Mr. Thomas’ house. The gang referred to Mr. Thomas as Old Misery. After Old Misery allowed T. into his home and showed him around T. went back to the gang and described the inside of the home as beautiful. Just minutes after this statement he suggested that the gang destroy the home. T.’s plan was to destroy the home from the inside out, this way they would not be noticed and could not be stopped until the job was complete. T. despised anything of beauty and would not rest until beauty was destroyed. Wren the world renowned architect and architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral was the architect of No. 3 Old Misery’s home. Wren is known for designing things of beauty.

Similarly Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” involved a child living a torrid life. Paul’s mother, obsessed with the notion of having no luck and no money, unknowingly put this burden on her son. His mother's obsession leads Paul to hear voices coming from the house, these voices constantly repeating, “ There must be more money.” Paul’s mother leads him to believe that money is only for those who are lucky and she told him that his father has no luck. His mother went further to tell the boy that she has no luck because she married his father. Paul became obsessed with wanting luck. His obsession becomes so intense that he could hear the voice coming from the springs of his rocking horse. He finds that he had a stroke of luck or perhaps a gift that he can pick the winner of a horse race while riding his wooden horse. He never confided in his mother instead he went to his Uncle and told him of his luck. He was convinced that his luck would bring money and stop the house from whispering. Paul gets his Uncle to bet on the horse and funnels the winnings to his mother, through a lawyer, for her birthday. This would prevent her from knowing where the money came from. All the while Paul is becoming increasingly obsessed to the point of insanity. At the same time Paul’s mother is living with the secret of not wanting children and secretly resenting them. Paul’s obsession leads to his death and ultimately Paul’s mother gets what she has longed for, more money.

Both of these stories take place in similar settings; post war era, families living beyond their means and mother’s wanting what they don’t have. Trevor a.k.a. T. handles his situation in a destructive manner that has a devastating effect on those not in his family. Paul handles his situation in a manner that results in loosing his life and the effect on his mother doesn’t appear to be very devastating. These two children lived torrid lives that ended very differently.

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