1. Both Paul in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” and Jerry in “Through the Tunnel” set a challenge for themselves. What is the challenge for each, and what motivates each toward his goals? How are the challenges similar and different?
Both Paul in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” and Jerry in “Through the Tunnel” set a challenge for themselves, in “The Rocking-Horse Winner”, Paul challenged himself to prove to his mother that he has luck, as his mother believes that if Paul is lucky, he will be able to earn money, thus resulting in his mother loving him. He thinks that if he takes on his family’s financial burden and responsibilities as well as solving their problems, his mother will appreciate him. Paul was motivated toward his goal because he was determined to achieve it and gain his mothers love and affection as well as proving to her that he is lucky. In “Through the Tunnel”, Jerry challenged himself to swim through the tunnel, the local boys were able to hold their breaths long enough to swim through the tunnel, which showed Jerry what he was also capable of doing. He trained everyday to be able to swim through the tunnel. What motivated Jerry was his determination to be like the local boys and be able to hold his breath long enough to swim through the tunnel, and to be able to gain the skills and have the confidence he sees in the local boys. Both challenges are similar in a way that the main characters both have challenges and goals in order to prove something to someone, whether it is to prove it to themselves like Jerry or prove it to someone else like Paul, that they are capable enough to succeed and achieve their goal. The difference is that their motives are very different. Paul wants to show his mother that he is lucky in order to gain her affection and love whereas Jerry wants to swim through the tunnel in order to prove to himself that he is as capable as the local boys are, as well as swimming through the tunnel symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood for Jerry. Jerry loves his mother very much, and feels connected to her, though, he is forced to transition into adulthood. Even though he wants to leave his mother behind and become an adult, he still wants her to always be there for him.
2. Racism is important to the setting and context of both “The Train from Rhodesia” and “Poison.” What do the stories reveal about the power of racism on both sides of the racial divide?
Racism is definitely a very important to the setting and context of “The Train from Rhodesia” and “Poison”. In “The Train from Rhodesia”, the train is full of rich white citizens, they are brought into contact with the native people, but also the train separates them from the natives. There’s a young woman on the train who comes to notice how horribly the white passengers’ behavior is and sees that they are taking advantage of the native people. The native artists are compared to “performing animals”, the white passengers do not consider the natives as humans, which force the natives to act as though they are actually “performing animals” when both the white and native travelers are human beings. Classifying people into groups and treating them as inferior to others and separating them from other so called “people of superior race” prevents people from seeing the other members in our society. In “Poison” the snake represents the racism of Harry as well as the racism of the whole nation. Even though the mutual fear of the snake temporarily unites Harry and the doctor, the racial separation which exists between the two worsens. When everyone comes to know that the snake does not exist, the doctor is confused whether the snake ever existed, and asks Harry just that, which greatly angers Harry, causing him to lash out and call the doctor a “dirty little sewer rat”, this, obviously shows that Harry believes he is superior to the doctor. This kind of racism causes a lot of fear for the characters in the story. Even though Harry has military power to protect him he believes that he is not strong, but instead, very weak, which could be caused by the fact that he lives with the oppressed. Doctor Ganderbaj also feels a sense of fear and weakness, since he is part of the oppressed race he thinks that his profession of being a doctor could be at stake if he does not save Harry’s life. We can really feel that the author wants to make it clear that if racism exists people will be unable to profit from the great things which can happen if both the oppressed race and the superior race connect, and that both sides will suffer if racism exists.
3. In several of the stories in the unit, the turning point results from an intense building of suspense. Choose one of the stories and describe how the author builds intensity and suspense.
I believe that “Poison” has the most suspense, the author takes about ten whole pages to come to the point when the doctor pulls the sheet, the author builds of suspense by adding a lot of details and creating tension and also by setting the scene. The author sets the scene that it is late at night and it is dark outside, when Timber enters the room he sees Harry laying on the bed, sweating. Harry starts whispering to Timber, although, the readers are clueless as to why Harry is acting this way. The author tells us what happens when the doctor arrives with great detail and even adds what the “blue vein” looks like on Harry’s arm which shows the reader that the story is very suspenseful. The author explains in detail about what the doctor is doing to Harry, for example, the author talks about the chloroform administration to Harry for a good two pages, which makes the readers curious as to what will happen next. The author uses tension to make the story more suspenseful, he shows that Harry is getting annoyed of laying down on the bed for such a long period of time. Towards the end of the story, we find out that there was never a snake under the sheets, which is a plot twist as the readers were expecting a very strikingly dramatic end to the story.
1. Describe Eveline’s conflict and the turning point in her life.
Eveline could not decide whether to stay and keep her mother’s promise or to leave and marry her love, Frank. Eveline writes a farewell letter before she wants to leave home to marry Frank, but as soon as she is leaving, she perceives her situation as contradicting between her wants and her duties. This conflict in the story leaves her confused, although, the turning point in the story occurs when she is at the train station, where she has no choice but to decide whether she wants to leave and be with the man who loves her, or to stay at home with her chaotic family.
2. What does the story “The Rocking-Horse Winner” say about the theme of responsibility and neglect. Explain which character is neglectful of his or her obligations and which character consequently undertakes unnecessary responsibility as a result of that neglect. Explain the final outcomes of the both the neglect and the misplaced sense of responsibility.
Paul’s mother is neglectful of responsibility and love for her children. This leads Paul to feel obligated to do them himself, as in his mind, he believes that if he puts himself in charge of the family’s responsibility, his mother will respect and love him much more. But, instead, he puts the financial burden of his family on his own head, which leads to terrible consequences for Paul. Abandonment of responsibility can lead children, just like Paul, into doing very dangerous things in order to gain their parent’s attention and affection. Because Paul craved his mother’s love and affection so much that he went to an extent of gambling, which is something fatal for his state of mind.
3. Think about the young women in “Eveline” and “The Train from Rhodesia.” Reread the final sentence in “Eveline” on page 135. Then reread the young woman’s response after her husband gives her the lion in “The Train from Rhodesia” on page 158 (the sentence that begins “She was looking…”).
What do the two women have in common? Explain your answer, using the stories as support.
What the two women have in common would be that they were both very affected by their surroundings, they showed warmth and sympathy to those around them. In addition to this, they have very high morals which make them selfless and benevolent. In “The Train from Rhodesia”, the woman felt wistful when her husband purchased a gift for her for an absurdly low price, instead of being delighted, she opposed to her husband taking advantage of an old man’s riches. “She threw the lion onto the seat”, shows her true feelings about the present which her husband gave her, which was taken from selfishness and dishonesty. However, Eveline also chose her high morals over happiness, although the unhappiness and sorrow she faces at home, she decided to stay home regardless as she was unable to leave her father, and break her mother’s promise. Both these women chose their morals and chose to do whats right over their own pleasure and happiness.