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Don't Rock The Horse Essay

1118 words - 5 pages

When discussing the seven deadly sins, one of the first that comes to mind is envy. Defined as the “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage,” envy can quickly drive those inflicted mad. Ceasing the popularity of greed starts by educating society about the unfulfilling mannerism. D.H. Lawrence attempts to expose this idea in his short story. Through Paul's desperation, the demanding house, and Hester's narcissism, Lawrence suggests that materialism and greed ultimately lead to the destruction of families and human beings in "The Rocking Horse Winner."
Beginning with Paul’s desperation, materialism and greed prove ...view middle of the document...

As the story continues, Paul’s obsession with winning becomes uncontrollable, forcing him to rock until he is “absolutely sure” (Lawrence 79). As a result, he becomes fatally ill. Here, Paul’s poisonous passion for money proves how detrimental materialism is. Weldon Thornton, analytical author, admits “Paul is destroyed…by his desire to ‘know’” (207). His death is the perfect example of how succumbing to greed will ruin people. Lawrence unmistakably alludes to the destruction that materialism and greed cause people and families through Paul’s anguish in “The Rocking-Horse Winner.”
The unavoidable whispers of the house are another example of materialism and greed in “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” The house’s demands are initially recognized when the family experiences intense financial scarcities. During Christmas, when the house is full of extravagant gifts and expensive toys, “the children [can] hear [the voices] start whispering: ‘there must be more money! There must be more money’” (Lawrence 73). The house requires a lavish lifestyle, symbolizing the family’s constant craving for wealth. Caroline Gordon, American novelist, claims “the need for more money…is presented, not as something that anybody says…but as something felt” (257), The house’s unreasonable request distinctly exemplifies the terrible effect materialism has on a family. Additionally, the whispers specifically emphasize greed by burdening Paul. He hopes being lucky will stop the noisy hauntings because the clamor “frighten[s] Paul terribly” (Lawrence 82). The house now plays a vital role in destroying the household. Essayist Roy Lamson concedes “the chief character is not a person but a feeling, a fear, expressed in the unspoken whispers which are as real as breathing” (258). The house’s continuous murmurs fuel Paul’s fixation with wealth, noticeably demonstrating the harshness of greed. Moreover, the home continues to spoil the family through materialistic principles by upholding a façade of wealth. Using the whispers to manipulate the family, the house grows into a luxurious abode. However, the exterior appearance of the home falsifies the actual financial stability of the family. Both Hester and her husband have very little incomes that are “not nearly enough for the social position which they [have] to keep up” (Lawrence 73). While the grandeur of the residence is unmistakable, the family is actually penniless. Here, the house truly becomes “the force against which the hero...

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