Compare and Contrast the Destructors and the Rocking Horse Winner

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Graham Greene’s “The Destructor’s”, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Rocking Horse Winner” (Both stories reprinted in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 9th ed. [Boston: Wadsworth] 111-124, 285-298) are two short stories set in post-war England. Despite the similarities of both stories set in post-war eras of Great Britain, the mood and physical settings are vastly different. In fact, the stories each give differing amounts of details and clues about the setting. For instance, “The Destructors” setting is easily discernable, but in contrast, “The Rocking Horse Winner” gives only vague clues regarding the time and setting. Regardless of the differences in the amount of details given, the setting in which both stories are told play a key role in the actions of the main characters. Both stories are similar in that they convey a message of how the circumstances of life affect human nature. “The Destructors” setting is easily identifiable within the first few paragraphs. For instance, the opening line makes it clear the time of year is August, during the “August Bank Holiday” (111). The phrase, “the last bomb of the first blitz” (112), written in the beginning of the fourth paragraph, is a clear reference to the World War II bombing of Britain (111). Finally, by the end of paragraph five we learn one of the central characters; Old Misery, or Mr. Thomas, lives in a house that was built by “Wren” (112). Wren is apparently the same man that designed St. Paul’s Cathedral, a well known London landmark (111). It is clear the story is set in war battered London. Furthermore, the author gives clues to a more exact time within the setting by revealing the age of the protagonist, T., to be fifteen (116) at the time of the setting, and also revealing that Blackie, another central character, was one year old at the time of the “first blitz” (112), which was between September 1940 and May 1941(111). Assuming Blackie and T. to be...
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