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In “Tony Kytes” Tony uses a horse-drawn carriage, so it is expected that he and his family were not poor, but do not own a vast amount of wealth. In “Spiv” the main character deals on the Black Market, and also appears to be a ‘classy’ dresser so he owns some amount of money. The way the characters and presented in each story is radically different. Tony Kytes is presented as someone who is looking for a wife and is engaged to Milly, so we expect to find Tony settling down with Milly. The “Spiv” is presented as someone who takes a small amount of liking to himself.
He opens with “She was a bit of a drip was old Myra, but absolutely gone on me”. Immediately we may think that he’s popular with women. He cares a lot about his appearance, and the women’s appearance aswell, saying, “I can’t turn my back on a woman who looks up to me… even if I can’t bear the sight of her otherwise”. He also enjoys “a bit of the old flannel”, which is flattery, and likes being complimented on his dress sense. Tony Kytes’ appearance isn’t described in as much detail, but he “was quite the women’s favourite”, so we understand he is popular with women.
The female characters aren’t described in as much detail as the main characters, but the females in both stories appear to be “lead on” by the main characters. In “Spiv”, Myra is described as someone who he had no intention of sticking with. On one occasion when the spiv is explaining this to Myra, after acknowledging what he says, she goes back to talking about clothes, which is one of his favourite discussion topics, believing she can win him over with it, and it works for so long. In “Tony Kytes” the females all seem to crave Tony’s attention, in particular the character Unity Sallet, who questions Tony’s decision to marry Milly.
Unity asks him if he’s seen anything to complain about, if she is prettier than Milly, and reminds Tony that they have known each other for a long time, since childhood. In “Spiv” we don’t learn much about Eunice, the spiv’s steady, other than that she was a “real classy dresser” and “different as chalk from Myra”. Generally the stories aren’t intentionally humourous, but do contain small amounts of amusing parts. In the spiv’s story it is funny to learn how in a “rough-house with the Hammersmith Gang”, he cares more about his “bleedin’ titfer” (his hat) then he does about his black eye.
In Tony’s story an element of slapstick comedy is used where the three girls are quarrelling in the cart, and as the cart tips over, out roll “the three maidens into the road in a heap”. Despite the stories not being intentionally humourous, in the end it is amusing how both men struggle to find happiness with more than one woman, and end up with either the woman they started out with in the first place, or alone (in “Tony Kytes” and “Spiv ” respectively). Both stories are narrated in the first person, and both stories are narrated in a similar style to the dialogue of the characters.
In “Tony Kytes” the narrator uses “thee” and ” ‘ee”, and in “Spiv” the story is told by the spiv himself. This technique places a sense of realism in the story, bringing us closer to the story than if the narrative was written in standard English. During the times these stories were set, a woman’s career was to marry and look after the home. A man leading women on or taking on a couple of women wasn’t too uncommon, because the man was, without being too sexist, the “dominant” sex, and needed to find a good woman to settle down with.
Times have changed since then, and so by reading this I find that the behaviour of the main characters is not strictly unacceptable, but immoral. Over the last century, women have become more independent and have earned more respect, and will not be lead on by a man as easily as in the stories. During the times in which they were set it wouldn’t have been seen as wrong as such, but still during both settings a woman might have taken offence to either Tony’s or the spiv’s actions.
I think that placing the stories into different social and historical contexts would bring out different reactions, but the idea of a woman not being a “slave” to a male is the issue raised in both stories. Shaun Collier 7/2/2001 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.