Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Like so many other Lawrence stories and novels, “Tickets, Please” concerns the sexual and spiritual war that is being waged just beneath the surface of civilized life. When that veneer is scratched, the psychological jungle is revealed.

It is appropriate that it is wartime. Aside from furthering the plot, the wartime setting is also a metaphor for the constant struggle between men and women. It is a “dangerous” but “exciting” time and, as in the stories of Ernest Hemingway at about the same time, wartime tends to show life in an exaggerated but intense reality.

This is particularly clear in the crucial battle between John Thomas and his vindictive captors. “Outside was the darkness and lawlessness of war-time,” Lawrence tells his readers at the beginning of this section. Inside, there is also “war” or “lawlessness” waiting in the depot, as in the hearts of these women.

When the women corner John Thomas, something happens to them, and they are transformed into powerful sexual animals. “Strange wild creatures, they hung on him and rushed at him to bear him down.” They have become the aggressors, and their new, animal, sexual power makes them feel “filled with supernatural strength.” However, this conquest of the male brings them no satisfaction; it is, Lawrence writes, a “terrifying, cold triumph.” Ironically, when they bring John Thomas down they destroy not only his male sexual advantage but also...

(The entire section is 457 words.)