This story focuses more on romantic love rather then desire. The two characters undergo an experience which is especially different to the love that that is usually associated with romance and desire. Mabel plays the part of a lonely and frustrated woman who’s life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. She is the only women in the family and is constantly being pressurised into making decisions which leads her to feel frustrated and lonely. This loneliness causes her to feel the need to have a relationship. This sudden need and desperation means that she rushes into one believing that Fergusson is the correct man for her.
She is locked into the family situation and cannot seem to find her way out of her financial problems. This is due to her passiveness and inability to make decisions of her own, which leads her to try to commit suicide. Her brothers describe her as having the face of a “bull dog” which conveys her unhappiness and the lack of respect her brothers have for her. This depression makes her feel insecure and lonely. The pond scene in this story, where Mabel attempts to commit suicide, plays a very important part in her life and it symbolises a baptism or rebirth experience of her character.
She then finds love at a time when she least expects it. After the pond scene she is confused with what she wants and because of her need to be loved she shows affection for Dr Fergusson. She says, “You love me. I know you love me”. These unexpected feelings commence after Mabel has realised that the doctor cares for her, so she immediately jumps to conclusions and presumes that he loves her. Therefore Mabel is behaving quite out of character since usually she is quiet and passive but here it seems like the pond experience has changed her personality and she becomes outgoing and presumptuous in desperation for his love and commitment.
In “Tickets Please” desire plays a larger part in the story than romantic love but it is very important as motives for the characters’ behaviour. John Thomas is a serial womaniser who is afraid of commitment. Both John Thomas and Jack Fergusson are reluctant to commit to a relationship, but for different reasons. To Jack Fergusson, commitment never crossed his mind, since he is a workaholic who doesn’t have time for a serious relationship, although he is quick to commit when put in a position to do so.
At first these feelings cause him to be unsure of Mabel’s sudden fondness for him, and he feels this is “a violation of his professional honour”. Although as she becomes more persistent these feelings of love become mutual. Although John Thomas is afraid of commitment, he is content with his life and takes advantage of many women. He can’t grasp the concept of committing to one woman. This lack of interest in a romantic relationship causes him to take his chances with love. He is “cheeky” and “flirts with the girl conductors in the morning”, and he only flirts with them “providing they are attractive”.
When John meets Annie at the fair he shows affection for her and she feels that she is loved by him. This causes her to actually believe that there is a possibility of them having a future together. So she begins to try and deepen the relationship by showing “an intelligent interest in him”. Due to his lack of ability to commit to a girl, he shows a typical reaction of abandoning her. This “intelligent interest” is suggesting that she wants more than a “nocturnal presence” with John Thomas. He isn’t used to this interest in a relationship, which is why he suddenly deserts her for no apparent reason.
His lack of interest in commitment is the motive for his actions. He only desires short relationships with the women he gets involved with. Annie then attempts to seek revenge on John for his actions. Even though Annie still possessed feelings of desire for John she still decided to seek revenge. These feelings of love for John Thomas leads her to become frustrated when she knows that she can’t have him. These frustrated feelings for revenge override her feelings of love for John, which is the motive for her actions of seeking revenge.
Although after the revenge scene in “Tickets Please” Annie realises that she may have gone too far with getting her own back on John since she realises that she still has feelings for him. These feelings of guilt lead her to a sudden outburst at the end of the story, “Shut up, for God’s sake! ” cried Annie fiercely, as if in torture. “. This shows that she regrets the pain that she has just inflicted on John and that she is having conflicting emotions. These conflicting emotions were building up in her head and were in some ways released with her sudden outburst.
In some way she feels that he deserved his punishment but she also feels that it was too harsh. She feels guilty and responsible. There is an air of finality here, since she knows that what ever chance that she did have with him is now ruined. Neither John nor Annie gains from this experience since both of them remain single and separate and they are left feeling discontented. Therefore I can conclude that romantic love and desire have a large effect on the motives for the character’s behaviour in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” and “Tickets Please”.