The three stories here depict a common theme of sadness in the lives of the main characters. ‘Tuesday Siesta’ is the tale of a proud woman and her daughter who visit a small, dusty town during the intense heat of a Tuesday afternoon. They have come for the express purpose of visiting the town's cemetery, where a week earlier the woman's son had been buried after being shot during a robbery attempt. The heart of the story is an interview between the mother and the village priest, who controls the keys to the cemetery. In the short story ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner,’ D.H. Lawrence presents an upper class family that was destroyed by greed because they always felt like no matter how much money they had, they always needed more. Neither the mother nor the father showed his or her love for the children and they were both greedy. Their greed consumed and corrupted their innocent children which ended in tragedy and death.
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This story's main theme is that greed destroys all in its path, and sometimes gets in the way of the truth and takes the place of love a young boy named Paul perceives. That there is never enough money in his family; he sets out to find a way to get money through luck. He discovers that if he rides his rocking-horse fast enough, he will somehow "know" the name of the winning horse in the next race. He begins to make money and secretly funnel this money to his mother, but the desire for more money only grows more intense instead of going away. He finally rides his rocking-horse so furiously in order to discover the winner of the Derby that he falls into illness and dies, just as the winning horse earns his family an enormous fortune. On the other hand, ‘And of Clay Are We Created?’ tells of the life-story of a newscaster named Rolf Carlé who attempted to rescue a girl named Azucena from the tremendous mudslides that have buried the entire towns and killed more than twenty thousand people during a volcanic eruption which has created enough heat to melt the ice on the mountain slopes. Many volunteered to help Azucena get out of the mire but when volunteers were unable to throw a rope to her, Rolf wades up to his waist in the mud to tie the rope under her arms himself. He smiles a charming smile and assures her that she will soon be out and safe. Throughout his professional life as a journalist, he has taken extraordinary risks, choosing to cover wars and natural disasters and placing himself in danger.
Life is a battle not against flesh and blood but against its harsh realities. Having studied well the three stories stated above, I have seen different criteria by which the three characters can be judged for admiration. First, I consider their character as a person as a significant basis for comparison since this plays a great role in their stories. Second, their responses towards given situations will measure how worthy they are to be admired. For their character as a person would not count if the authors did not illustrate how well they have responded to the challenges in their individual account. Lastly, I believe that the degree of suffering in the given challenges also needs to be considered since suffering was their common fate
Character as a person
The heaviness of the oppressive afternoon heat stands in contrast to the inner courage the Mother demonstrates in the face of both the church and the unfriendly town. She bore the conscientious serenity of someone accustomed to poverty yet her deep-seated strength and conviction make her a prototype of the strong female character that sets aside herself for the sake of her loved ones. During her entire conversation with the priest, she remained firm and determined to insist her reason of coming. Her voice was pleasant and full of undertones which illustrates that this woman is a refine character. Paul is the one that shows an extraordinary character of a young boy.
Though young as he is, Paul is already aware of his family’s misfortune in terms of money not in the deepest sense that they lack it but that they seemed never to get contented of it. Because of that, he sets out to find a way to get money through luck. Paul’s character is same that of any street children who were deprived of their basic needs, not in terms of money but in terms of love and attention, yet were persistent enough to find a way to survive the bout of life. Only that Paul was driven by his mother's greed, he developed a ridiculous obsession to try and win his mother's love by being like her—greedy of money. Rolf, on the other hand, is a person with a good equanimity (the ability to stay calm) in the face of danger and suffering; it seemed as if nothing could shake his fortitude or deter his curiosity. Fear seemed never to touch him, although he had confessed that he was not a courageous man.
Responses towards given situations
The woman is quite unfortunate in life. She had her son killed during a robbery attempt in a distant place and has to travel through an old train only to visit his grave. As the story develops, it affirms the social and economic disparity between the mother and daughter and the priest and his sister. The woman's son is nothing more than a petty thief in the eyes of the priest. The mother, however, sees the matter differently. She faced the situation that is dramatic in fashion with pride. The priest and his sister, aware that groups of curious people have filled the streets, realize that the woman and her daughter will have to face a hostile crowd on their way to the cemetery.
Sure of herself and of the propriety of her actions, the mother and her daughter boldly face the ominous challenge of a hot Tuesday afternoon in the streets of an unfriendly town. The obsession with wealth and material items is pitted against the responsibilities of parenting in "The Rocking-Horse Winner." It is the responsibility of the parents to provide for the children in a family. It is also the responsibility of the parents to budget and spend money wisely for the whole family. Too unfortunate for Paul that he had parents that are greedy and loveless which made him practice secrecy. Paul’s character is defined through the use of these secrets. By understanding the secrets between his mother, his rocking horse, and Uncle Oscar can you really understand his struggle to receive love from his mother? Paul, throughout the story, struggles with the secrets that he and his mother are keeping and the love that he wants to receive from his mother.
But because of this hunger for love, he was motivated to be greedy with money just as his parents are. Rolf Carlé was faced with a situation wherein he sacrificed his own safety in order to help a young girl get out of the horrible mud she’s stuck in. As a reporter, he’s supposed not to focus on rescuing anybody but on just giving news to people. However, because of his kind, brave heart Rolf chose to indulge the risk of going through the mud himself to tie a rope under Azucena’s arm. Still unable to take her out, he decided to stay with her in the stuck for days and nights and gave all his effort to tell the national television of his need to get a pump to take out mud around the girls death hole.
Degree of suffering
The suffering that Mother have had in ‘Tuesday Siesta’ is not much compared to that of Paul and Rolf. The only misadventure that she experienced was the fact that she is poor, had her son killed, had a long, uncomfortable trip, had a parse conversation with the priest and his sister, and that she had a walk around an unfriendly town in a hot Tuesday for the sake of visiting her son’s grave. Aside from that, her suffering is as well bearable for her since she has that strong character of a woman. Paul’s suffering, however, were of emotional matters. It’s the deprivation of parental love and attention that he’s hungry for.
That sorrow of Paul, though undeniably heavy, is suppose to be resolved only if he had the right attitude towards his family’s trouble—that is not giving in to the greed of money in order to reach out a mother’s love. Rolf‘s agony is obviously heroic since he had given to a life-risky rescue, physically uncomfortable situation of being stuck in the mud, and most of all being emotionally struck. The process of remembering his own agony is a painful one, bringing this brave, rugged man to tears. As what he said to Azucena that he’s crying for himself because he’s hurt all over surely means that the pains of his past continues long after the girl's death.
Life is, indeed, a battle not against flesh and blood but against its harsh realities. As I evaluate the three stories, I came to conclude that Rolf Carlé is the most admirable from among them. Imagine the horrors of his own past: having to bury concentration camp prisoners, living with an abusive father who sometimes locked young Rolf in a cabinet, and the pain of loosing his dearly loved retarded sister, Katherina. Yet he still continues to live according to how he ought to, showing brevity and not depriving others of his love that he could give though that means risking his own life, laying aside his personal job as a reporter, and unlocking the key of his own painful past.
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