“Tickets, Please” is a story of unrequited love and the vengeance that it spawns. In its psychological depth and detail, however, it also reveals the sexual war that D. H. Lawrence believed always raged between men and women. The setting is of crucial importance to this story, for it reflects in several significant ways Lawrence’s themes. The background is World War I; because most of the healthy young men are away fighting in France, the trains are being driven by “cripples” and “hunchbacks,” and the conductors on this “most dangerous tram-service in England” are all women.
The chief inspector on Annie Stone’s line is John Thomas Raynor (nicknamed “Coddy” by the women), who is young and good-looking and who takes full advantage of his situation. He flirts with the conductors by day and “walks out” with them by night, and not a few have been forced to leave the service in “considerable scandal.”
Annie has kept her distance from John Thomas (she has a boyfriend of her own), but one night they meet unexpectedly at a local fair and spend an exciting, romantic evening together. With their continued intimacy, Annie becomes possessive. “Annie wanted to consider him a person, a man: she wanted to take an intelligent interest in him, and to have an intelligent response.” However, here, Lawrence says, “she made a mistake.” John Thomas has no intention of becoming an intelligent, serious person to her. He “walks...
(The entire section is 548 words.)