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Short Story Comparative Essay D.H. Lawrence's "The Rocking Horse Winner" And Bernard Malamud's "Angel Levine"

951 words - 4 pages

In D.H. Lawrence's short story, "The Rocking Horse Winner", and Bernard Malamud's "Angel Levine", the protagonists are greatly affected by both ethical and emotional problems. As a result, their sense of judgment is victimized due to the effects of their problems. Whether in a story about religion and faith like "Angel Levine" or an extreme story surrounding money and greed like "The Rocking Horse Winner", lessons and notions can be interpreted by the way the protagonists dealt with the issues of their daily lives. In order to understand the problems the protagonists had and the unavoidable mistakes that happened as a result of these problems, one must scrutinize the various problems of each protagonist in "The Rocking Horse Winner" and "Angel Levine".In these two stories, the protagonists are portrayed as characters that are plagued with both emotional and ethical problems that ultimately harm their sense of judgment. In "Angel Levine", after his plea to G-d for help, Manishevitz was greeted by a black angel, Angel Levine, who was supposedly sent by G-d to attempt to help Manishevitz. However, the physical appearance of the angel was surprising to Manishevitz, as the angel was black, skinny, and ironically, Jewish. This portrayal of an angel did not correspond to what Manishevitz had in mind, and caused Manishevitz to be very hesitant towards believing that Levine was an actual angel. He did not trust him, nor believe Levine's proclamation of being Jewish. After sending off the black angel onto the street, one might ask the question of what exactly could Manishevitz lose by believing Levine that he was an angel and was sent to help Manishevitz. Undoubtedly, Manishevitz is depreciating what he has got in his hands and the opportunity given to him by G-d. This lack of judgment by Manishevitz is understandable because of his emotional problems that he had to face, such as his sick wife, weak mental stability, and depression. Manishevitz could not cope with all the problems he encountered, and they evidently affected the way he dealt with the issues at hand. In "The Rocking Horse Winner", the mother was the main symbol of society and inappreciation. While living with an adequate wealth in an average American family, all she complained about was how distressed she was about how little money they possess and how unsuccessful her husband had become. This theme of materialism ultimately resulted in the involvement of her son, Paul, in her desperate desire for more money. After becoming entwined in his mother's quest for more money, Paul explored ways to finally make his mother happy and satisfied. As Paul became increasingly successful at fulfilling his mother's dreams by winning money from horse betting, he eventually became mentally instable as he was forced to face the moral problem of how far...

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