What Comparisons and/or Contrasts can be made between the two short stories, ”Horse Sense” and ”The Three Sisters”?
Although ”Horse Sense” written by Deborah Moggach, and ”The Three Sisters” written by Jane Austen are both short stories, many comparisons and differences can be seen, one being that the stories were written at different times. ”The Three Sisters” was written in the late nineteenth century and ”Horse Sense” was written in the late twentieth century. Time has an immense influence on both stories. The reason for some of the similarities or differences is because of the period in which the stories were written. It can be seen that time is passing in both stories.
In ”Horse Sense” time has passed and this is shown when Eric’s neck is ”getting browner” because the summer is getting even hotter. Time is passing when each of the letters are being written. The day on which the letter is written is shown above the letter therefore, the reader can see how many days have passed between the time when the previous letter was written and the one that is being read. Mary is presented to be very self-centred by Jane Austen. In the first letter from Mary, ”I” is used repeatedly throughout the letter showing how she is constantly talking about her life to Fanny.
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Mary does not ask any questions about how Fanny is in her letters. In contrast the narrator in ”Horse Sense” is not really self-centred, but she is just very insecure and blames herself for everything. The topic of marriage seems to be a natural concept for the characters in both ”The Three Sisters” and ”Horse Sense” to discuss. In ”The Three Sisters” marriage was very important to a girl and her mother. Marriage was the goal of a young lady’s life and being provided for. Mary was the ”the happiest creature in the world” because she had received an offer of marriage from Mr Watts.
Jane Austen uses the superlative to emphasise on the happiness Mary supposedly feels. When Jane Austen writes about how happy Mary feels she is using irony. Mary does not really feel the happiest creature, more like the unhappiest creature because she only wants to marry Mr Watts to be triumphant over her sisters and receive lots of money and have more status in society. Mary has no affection towards Mr Watts and she does not realise her marriage will not be very successful if she dislikes him so much. Although for her it was essential to marry into the right family, and have a high status in society.
The husband whom she should marry ought to be very rich and good-looking. The women of that time should marry a man who is of equal status or of higher status. Once the girl is married she will receive a ‘title’ and acquire more independence and money. It was vital for a woman to marry because otherwise she would probably become a governess. The woman’s father would not be able to financially afford to look after his daughter so she would have to go to work. A governess would have to look after the children of the family who she belonged to.
She would be treated as a servant, and would not be able to find a husband, as she would be with the children most of the time. A governess would have no status because she would not be associated with the family as she would be too lower class and she would not be identified with the servants because, she would not spend time with them in the kitchen or around the house. Mary does not see her mother asking about marriage surprising, as Mary knows what her life could be, as a married woman or a governess. In ”Horse Sense,” marriage also seems a natural concept for the family to think.
Ranjit had been a ”bachelor for years and his family started to despair. ” Ranjit’s family were worried he may not get married as he was getting old. They did not want their son to remain unmarried and have to live alone. The way in which the bridegroom and bride meet seem to be quite similar. In ”The Three Sisters” the couples meet at balls in front of their families and where there are lots of people surrounding them. During most arranged marriages, as with the one in ”Horse Sense,” the couples meet in front of their families and everyone gives their blessings.
In ”Horse Sense” Ranjit seems to have been forced into marrying the narrator from family pressure. Ranjit and the narrator have an arranged marriage. Deborah Moggach writes how Ranjit’s ‘family had started to despair’ because he was unable to find himself a wife so the family had to organise a wedding for him. Mary and Mr Watts’ marriage is slightly arranged. Mary’s parents have to agree for Mary to marry Mr Watts and they have to accept whether he is good enough for their daughter. Parents have a large role in who their children marry in both stories.
I think marriage was quite important to the families because in ”Horse Sense” his family begins to ”despair” when they realise he is getting old. Marriage is important to the narrator as well, because she longs for a baby. The narrator watched Ranjit and could ”see the small boy he once was” and she ”burst into tears” when she saw the young boy getting slapped in the shop. Deborah Moggach shows the narrator’s desire to have a child by comparing Ranjit to a young child and the need to have a child. When the narrator bursts into tears, this shows her desperation to have a child of her own and not remain lonely.
By studying the ”Three Sisters”, Mary has longed to get married first, which shows marriage must be important to her. I assume Mr Watts thought marriage was important to him because he needed an heir to inherit his money. In contrast Ranjit had been a ‘bachelor for years” because he was too afraid to tell his family about his sexuality. I do not think marriage was one of Ranjit’s main priorities because he was homosexual. In ”The Three Sisters” sexual intercourse was not been discussed let alone homosexuality because the periods of time this was written, as this would not have been appropriate.
Love and relationships play a large role in both stories. The characters in some ways have similarities in the way they think towards love. In ”The Three Sisters” love does not have too much importance between the characters, Mary and Mr Watts, described by Jane Austen. As long as their families are happy with the arrangements, the couple does not seem to mind. In ”Horse Sense” the couple had an arranged marriage, which would mean they would only begin to love each other once they had got married. The narrator in ”Horse Sense” shows love to the horse, which lives near her house.
The narrator does not receive any love from Ranjit so she turns to the horse to share her affection with. This is similar to ”The Three Sisters” because when Mary feels lonely or in confusion she writes letters to Fanny to confide in. Mary may not feel as much affection and be as dependent on Fanny as the narrator is to the horse, but both of the main female characters have someone to confide in when they feel lonely. The characters’ attitudes to relationships in some ways are similar. We only meet Mr Watts once in ”The Three Sisters” so we assume what he thinks due to what we know about people living in that period.
We assume Mr Watts wants to marry Mary and wants an heir to his fortune. We assume he wants Mary to care for his household and be in charge of the servants and not go and earn money for the family. This could be shown as a similarity with Ranjit in ”Horse Sense. ” The narrator remains at home and cooks and cleans and if Ranjit ”saw a smeary surface, he cleared his throat. ” The ‘s’ sound is emphasised in this quotation displaying Ranjit’s disappointment. The ‘s’ sound causes a hissing sound which does not make the narrator believe Ranjit is thinking approvingly.
Also Deborah Moggach has written ”smeary” instead of dirty to show how the narrator has wiped the surface and tried to clean it but still left a smear. Deborah Moggach has portrayed Ranjit to be a perfectionist. Also all Ranjit does is ”clear his throat” and the narrator knows straight away that he is showing his disapproval. The narrator and Ranjit do not have good verbal communication between each other, so when Ranjit gives signals like ”clearing his throat,” the narrator understands his point of view. Ranjit wanted his wife to stay at home as well. Although this can be seen as a similarity, this can be seen as a contrast.
Mr Watts would have wanted his wife to stay at home as that is where she belonged in his eyes. Ranjit may have wanted his wife to stay at home because then he would have less chance of being found out about his affair with another man. This comparison can be seen in two ways. Jane Austen presents the relationship between Mr Watts and Mary as not to be very positive and rather foolish. Mary says Mr Watts is an ”old fool” and how she despises him. Also when Mr Watts talks to his wife to be he uses sarcasm, ”at last,” and this would not really make someone like him. Using this tone made Mary more reluctant to marry him.
Their relationship is very strange, because before they even get married they have quarrels and Mary is doubtful whether she really wants to marry Mr Watts and spend the rest of her life with him. Marriage needs one hundred percent commitment, yet Mary does not seem to show she is willing to have that with Mr Watts. Jane Austen shows Mary’s confusion when Mary mentions how ”she will have him” and then after some more consideration she decides she ”won’t have him! ” In contrast, in ”Horse Sense” we are not told about whether the narrator had any worries before getting married.
She seems to have been quite happy to marry Ranjit. Both stories are about couples prior to getting married or already married. In modern times when people like each other in that way, a lot of physical touching occurs between them. In both stories, there is not a lot of physical touching. We do not really understand the true meaning of why there is no physical touching in ”Horse Sense” until the end. Ranjit would not really want to handle the narrator very much as he was not attracted to her. The narrator however would not mind if Ranjit conducted some physical touching.
Deborah Moggach mentions how the narrator reads Woman’s Own and realises that Ranjit only handles her ”infrequently. ” When you read this, the narrator sounds disappointed that her husband does not want to go near her after being married for such a short amount of time. I expect the narrator was hoping once they were married, their relationship would be full of happiness but she has been disappointed and she has no choice but to accept this. She could get a divorce but her family would not forgive her. In the Asian culture, divorce is not a very good option.
When two people are married in the Asian culture, everyone expects them to live together for the rest of their lives. If something occurs and they separate many questions are asked by the family. Also when the narrator ‘stroke the neck” of the horse and it ”blew into her hair” this conveys how she would like Ranjit to contact her in this way but he does not so she receives this comfort from the horse instead. In ”The Three Sisters” physical touching should only occur after the marriage. It is seen as inappropriate for males to touch females a lot before the marriage at the time, which Jane Austen was writing.
In ”The Three Sisters” once the couples are married, they are supposed to have a close relationship. They should develop a close relationship because everyone expects the couple to have children so there will be an heir. In ”Horse Sense” I expect Ranjit’s family and the narrator’s family would like or expect them to have children. In Asian families, having many children is part of the culture, although in modern times, the number of children has decreased. In contrast, in ”The Three Sisters” it is most likely that Mr Watts and Mary wants to have children.
However in ”Horse Sense,” it is only the narrator that longs for children and I think Ranjit would prefer not to have any with the narrator. In ”The Three Sisters” there are many different relationships. There is a family of sisters who argue and have a little rivalry. In ”Horse Sense” the narrator feels very alone during the beginning of the story but later, we are introduced to her sister who she seems to get on with but I do not think they are very close. The narrator does not tell her sister about why she left Ranjit.
This could be because the narrator feels embarrassed or she could be trying to be loyal to Ranjit. Ranjit never really treated her badly so she may not see why she should ruin things for him. It is the narrator’s sister with whom she goes and lives with when she realises her marriage with Ranjit has ended. Within the two stories there is a relationship between sisters. In ”Horse Sense” the narrator feels very alone and feels her relationship with Ranjit is very poor. Deborah Moggach uses repetition of ”more” showing the significance of the large amount of time Ranjit is away from home.
The more Ranjit is away from home, the more the narrator feels lonely. When Ranjit mentions how he has to give ”pep talks to his countrywide network of sales executives” he sounds very important and makes the narrator feel inferior to him. It is not just the narrator who feels alone. Deborah Moggach writes how the narrator thinks Eric feels alone as well. ”The first journey he talked all the way about his late wife. ” The narrator realises how Eric is lacking a wife and how she is lacking something in her marriage. Soon she makes friends with Eric the taxi driver and they talk to each other a lot.
As time went on Eric’s neck became ”browner” which shows they were becoming more personal. Brown was most likely the colour of the narrator’s skin as she was Asian, and his skin becoming browner shows how in looks they are becoming closer. When the characters in ”The Three Sisters” need to decide something, they write letters for example Mary wrote to Fanny. We do not actually know whether Fanny is a real person and whether she helps Mary decide what to do which is similar to the narrator and Eric. The narrator tells Eric how she feels about her marriage, and feels happier because she has some to talk to.
However even though the narrator and Eric talked to each other a lot, neither of them really listened to what each other were saying. This is similar to what was written in ”The Three Sisters” because when Mary was trying to decide whether to marry Mr Watts, her sisters were not really listening to how she felt, they just wanted to make sure they would not have to marry him. In ”Horse Sense” there are symbols of fertility and how the narrator longs for a child. The narrator sees a young child crying and bursts into tears herself because, she longs for a child for herself and cannot bare the fact of a child crying.
Also the narrator visits the White Horse Hills, and the white horse carved into the hills is a symbol of fertility. In contrast, no symbols of fertility are written about in ”The Three Sisters. ” This may have been because at the time the story was written writers would not write about fertility, as they would think of it as inappropriate. Fertility was a taboo subject at that time when ”The Three Sisters” was written. In both stories child features are incorporated into the stories. The narrator in ”Horse Sense” longs for a child and has childlike features.
The narrator feels lonely and is holding all her fears within her because she has no one to reassure her. When she realises she has picked up the wrong shopping bags she becomes neurotic and worried. She has many fears in an innocent way. However, in ”The Three Sisters” Mary is childish because she seems to have quite unreasonable demands and does not want to marry for love but only for money and to triumph over her friends. Money and materialistic possessions do play a role in both stories. In ”Horse Sense” Ranjit had been a ”bachelor for years. ‘ Deborah Moggach is emphasising the fact that Ranjit is not really interested in having a relationship with the narrator and how he is more bothered about materialistic possessions and his career. In ”The Three Sisters” Mary and her sisters want to marry gentlemen who are wealthy so they will live good lives once married. Once the girls are married, they would be given housekeeping, this would have been more money that they would have received from their father. If their husbands are rich, they can buy more expensive luxuries for themselves. Also the more money they have, the more importance and status, they have within their society.
In contrast, money and materialistic possessions are not as important to the narrator but still have a small importance. The narrator mentions how Ranjit is generous with his money. Also when Eric mentions how all the houses are now ”little boxes and they all look the same” the narrator refuses to believe that. She is proud of her house and wants her house to be recognised as different. The way in which money is viewed by the women and men are different, yet the men have similar views. In ”Horse Sense” Ranjit gives money to the narrator as a way of keeping her happy and enabling to live her life.
In ”The Three Sisters” Mr Watts is portrayed as the character that will only give money to Mary if she really needs it. Both men control the amount of money, which they give to their wives for it is them who earn it while the wives remain at home and nurture the household. Transport is mentioned in both stories. The types of transport used are very different. In ”The Three Sisters,” Mary mentions how she wants to travel to her wedding in horse and carriage. She describes how elaborately she wants her carriage to be decorated. The type of transport used seems appropriate for the time of which the story was written.
In ”Horse Sense,” the narrator travels in a taxi with Eric, to and from Sainsbury’s. A lot of the conversation, which occurs between the narrator and Eric, happens in the taxi. The driver in ”Horse Sense” is recognised as important character, whereas in ”The Three Sisters” the driver is not mentioned. The importance of transport is very different in the short stories. When Jane Austen writes how elaborately the carriage should be decorated is a sign of status. Mary wants an expensive carriage to show how she can afford to travel in an expensive carriage.
However, Deborah Moggach who wrote ”Horse Sense” mentions how transport is as important to the narrator because it is a way for her to leave the house and experience the outdoors. Ranjit does not take her out for meals or shopping so she has to find her own means. Also the taxi is important for the narrator because then she is able to buy the food to cook for her husband, Ranjit to keep him happy. After reading both stories transport has more importance in ”Horse Sense. ” If the narrator was not in the taxi and visited the White Horse Hills, she would not have realised how her marriage was never going to be a success.
However, in ”The Three Sisters” transport is only important because then Mary can feel that she has triumphed over all the other young girls. Jane Austen has written ”The Three Sisters” in prose and Deborah Moggach has written ”Horse Sense” in prose as well. Although, Jane Austen has written in letterform and Deborah Moggach has written in short passages. Deborah Moggach has some separation between her writing by leaving lines between each part. Jane Austen writes new letters by the same or different character to show a difference. When Jane Austen wrote the letters from Mary, the form of the letter was a stream of consciousness.
Mary was pouring her thoughts when she was trying to decide whether to marry Mr Watts. However, Deborah Moggach’s writing was structured differently. ”Horse Sense” shows the narrator’s feeling throughout the story but not in the form of a letter. The language used in the short stories is a little similar. Both, Jane Austen and Deborah Moggach use the word ‘fool. ‘ Jane Austen writes how Mary calls Mr Watts an ‘old fool’ when she is annoyed with him. Deborah Moggach writes how the narrator ‘felt such a fool. ‘ When the narrator calls herself a fool in ”Horse Sense” we sympathise more with her. Deborah Moggach uses fool twice i. e. epetition to emphasise that the narrator really does feel a fool and has no self-confidence. She tells us the advantages and disadvantages of her marriage with Ranjit, as she is truthful we tend to believe her. Mary only gives us her point of view about Mr Watts and she is rather foolish and she does not even realise how foolish she really is. Therefore we tend to sympathise more with the narrator in ”Horse Sense” rather than with Mary in ”The Three Sisters” due to the way the writers have portrayed the characters. Deborah Moggach has written a more satisfactory conclusion to ”Horse Sense” because we find out what has happened to her.
The narrator goes back to live in London with her sister, where she came from, with her family. She has someone to talk to and she could find herself a job in London and may find some other man to spend the rest of her life with. ”Her head is clear” and she is relieved because she realises the marriage was not a failure because of her. During the story she was always feeling lonely and depressed. There was not really any humour during the story. Deborah Moggach writes how the narrator’s sister would go round the bend just living around cows and the narrator uses humour and says ”it did. ‘ The narrator nearly thought she was going crazy and needed help but then realised she was not going mad and she could see the funny side of what had happened in her life while being married. In contrast, Jane Austen has not given a satisfactory conclusion. We assume Mary and Mr Watts are going to marry each other because Mr Watts was going to London to ”hasten the preparations for the wedding. ” However, Mary had been changing her mind about the wedding throughout the story, so we will only know if they definitely get married once the day has occurred.