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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 289

The theme of "Tickets, Please" is the changes in male-female relationships that have resulted from World War I. At the beginning of the story, Lawrence describes the new female streetcar conductors as "fearless young hussies," and calls the female protagonist, Annie Stone, "a tartar." Though the women who take the place of men on the trams are tough, Lawrence describes them in a way that suggests that their boldness and strength are ugly and hideous rather than admirable and courageous.

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In the middle part of the story, Annie goes to a fair with the dashing John Joseph, an inspector who has dated many of the female tram conductors. Their script follows the traditional male-female dating pattern, as they have a good time, but Annie wants more from him. Lawrence writes, "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, John Joseph, in a typical male pattern, has moved on to greener pastures and has lost interest in Annie.

The last part of the story challenges the traditional male-female pattern, as Annie and her friends unleash an attack on John Joseph. It's clear that Lawrence is suggesting that wartime has heralded a new era in male-female relationships, one in which women will challenge their subordinate role. What's not clear, in this ambiguous, complex story, is whether Lawrence regards the women's challenge as positive or negative. John Joseph is portrayed as a thoughtless cad, but the animal-like way in which Annie and the other women attack him is described as savage. Perhaps Lawrence is suggesting that no one will come out ahead in the new war between men and women unleashed by the modern age.

Themes and Meanings

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 457

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,...

(The entire section contains 746 words.)

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