Money today seems to be the most important thing in people’s lives, examples of this are shown in “Paper” by Catherine Lim; which tells the story of Tay Soon and his wife, and their general obsession with owning their own dream house. Another story that helps to prove this point is “The Winner” by Barbara Kimenye which center’s itself around an elderly gentleman named Pius who is forced to deal with the acquisition of a large sum of money. While the two stories contain characters, which hold different values they both hold a similar ironic ending, and both stories prove that money changes people’s lives.
Although both stories help to prove that money indeed does change people’s lives; both “Paper” and “The Winner” do it through characters that hold completely different values. For example in “Paper” Tay Soon is obsessed with his money. Even after he had made enough to buy his dream house he refused to sell his stocks because he wanted more. Whereas in “The Winner” Pius doesn’t really care when he is informed that the original amount he had won had to be split between 300 people. Tay Soon was also very vocal about the actions of his mother and how it appalled him when she refused to try the stock market.
“I was kind enough to offer to help her make money.
But since she’s so nasty and ungrateful, we’ll leave
her alone.” Pg 77
This proves that Tay Soon is a take charge kind of guy. This is further proved by his actions, as he buys and sells all his stocks himself and waits in the broker’s office for the latest stock tips. However Pius who similarly is discontent at first with Cousin Sarah passively says nothing to her about it and keeps his discontent to himself, showing that he doesn’t really like to take charge of his situations. This is further proven by how easily he is influenced by his best friend Salongo, for instance when Pius is being interviewed by the radio reporter and Salongo keeps telling Pius to “say nothing” and sure enough Pius says nothing. This all shows that the difference in character values does not affect the similarity in the theme.
While the two stories may be separated by a difference in character values, they are similar in irony. Both stories posses similar ironic endings in which both endings turn out differently then foreseen by the main characters in both stories, thus changing their lives. In “Paper” Tay Soon expected to make millions playing the stock market and buy his dream house, however in the end he lost all his money, which led to his death; and to further the irony Tay Soon was buried in a model dream house made of paper, the very thing that caused his death. In “The Winner” the main irony came from the fact that at the beginning of the story Pius thought Cousin Sarah was annoying and wanted to get rid of her.
“Pius listened to her confident aplomb with growing
horror, whilst Salongo frantically nudged him and
whispered “There what did I tell you? That women’s
a stickler.” Pg 78
However in the end it was proved that Cousin Sarah was the only one who would stick by him when everyone found out there was no money then originally thought and Pius and Cousin Sarah end up getting married.
So as you can see money does seem to be the only thing on peoples’ minds these days. For example look at the growing number of lawsuits and “reality” based game shows. They just show that people will do anything for a quick buck these days, further proving that money changes peoples’ lives.