All human beings are made up of certain strengths and weaknesses, and in the short stories The Masque of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, The Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H. Lawerence and The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross, each author treats the subject of human weaknesses and flaws as contributing to the downfall of each main character respectively. The act of obstinacy, arrogance and obsession have been the major causes of their downfalls in the stories.
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Arrogance is a very common attribute that we all have. It is a tempting act of feeling over-confident in oneself. This revolting character trait is evidently exemplified in the short stories The Masque of The Red Death and The Rocking-Horse Winner. But the prince prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious (Poe 197), he regards himself as above in both power and importance. Similarly, Paul is being unrealistic and arrogant to some extent by asserting God told me (Lawerence 3) when in fact, god never tells him anything with regard to his destiny and fortune. In addition, Prince Prospero from The Masque of The Red Death and John from The Painted Door also have a very similar character trait.
[The] Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. (Poe 203)
Prince Prospero is controlled by a frenzy of anger and rage, and he is eventually ravaged by death as a result of his impetuosity. In the same way just like Prince Prospero, John is controlled by his own obstinacy and determination. I knew we were going to have a storm I told him so but it doesnt matter what I say. Big stubborn fool he goes his own way anyway (Ross 373). This is an evidence of his stubbornness, he has an unwavering mind and has no flexibility in his thinking, which, similarly, leads him to death.
Furthermore, Paul and John both have identical distinctiveness, their self-centeredness and obsessions are also some of their greatest weaknesses, which act as a contribution to their downfalls in the stories. [Taking] no heed of other people, he went about with a sort of stealth, seeking inwardly for luck. He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it (Lawerence 4). Paul is totally controlled by his self-centeredness, and he pays absolutely no attention to other people. He is very determined, yet being uncompromising simultaneously. Similarly, self-centeredness has also played a major role in Johns character. He was a slow, unambitious man, content with his farm and cattle, naively proud of Ann (Ross 367). John is never exposed to the outside world, and he is always confined in his farming environment. All he has in mind is the devotion of work, and it is the very devotion that he has which forbids him from relaxing and enjoying his life.
Moreover, John and Paul have misunderstood the need of other people around them. All they do is providing materialistic goods to them, without truly understanding their concerns.
It was something of life she wanted, not just a house and furniture; something of John, not pretty clothes when she would be too old to wear them. But john of course couldnt understand. To him it seemed only right that she should have the clothes only right that he, fit for nothing else, should slave away fifteen hours a day to give them to her. (Ross 370)
Pretty clothes are not what Ann has worshipped for for seven years, she wants to have a better, more meaningful life, and she only treats the pretty clothes as trivial things. She doesnt want to stay in the barn for the rest of her life. All she wants is to spend more time with John. In the same way just like John, Paul has the same problem. He gives his mother a birthday present of a thousand pounds for five years. He thinks the money will satisfy her needs and wants, when in fact, it doesnt. Pauls mother is in debt, and she will need a lot more than five thousand pounds to pay off her debt. As a result, misunderstandings exist among the characters due to the lack of communication and consideration.
Human flaws have become a part of our everyday life, and there is no denying that this problem exists throughout the world. Obstinacy, arrogance, greed and misunderstandings have become the major problems in our everyday life. The biggest problem we have in todays society is the lack of communication with our families and friends, which might ultimately be the major cause of misunderstandings among human beings. Nevertheless, these short stories act as cautionary tales in which we are warned about the consequences of humans weaknesses and flaws. Those who obstinately do things in a repetitive way are shown to bring boredom and unhappiness to the people around them, while those who act arrogantly are proved to be given penalty in the course of their lives. However, since human beings are created imperfectly, thus, there is no resolution to our flaws and imperfection as they will continue to have a crippling effect on our lives.
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