JH: In an interview with Luna Park I was asked about The Winner‘s “silent and repressed” narrator who refuses to help his wife. I said:
“I think it’s charitable to call the narrator “silent and repressed,” as I see that guy as an outright jerk. I suppose he could stand to represent a bastardized form of masculinity, an exaggerated (or not) example of the old guard. But in a story so short I take it that everything is amplified, and I see him essentially as a caricature of that prehistoric mindset, drawn to effect the irony at the end, that what he’s “won” is only a household full of anguish.”
Did I get this right or am I way off?
GCP: I like the idea of him winning ‘only a household of anguish’. Basically, I think the story is about consequences. She wanted a kid, he didn’t. He “gave her exactly what she wanted” and now he resents and regrets this compromise, to the extent that his wife and child are a constant reminder of his own perceived weaknesses and frailties. Clearly, he is a jerk (though as a Brit, I prefer ‘twat’) because he makes everyone a victim of his bad faith. It’s one of those scenarios where they seem close to hitting rock-bottom. So I suppose that while it is a sad story, maybe there’s a shred of redemption—maybe they need to hit the bottom and feel what it’s like, before they bounce back up. Then again…