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Obsesion With Money In The Rocking Horse Winner, Written By D.H. Lawrence

1230 words - 5 pages

The Rocking Horse Winner, written by D.H. Lawrence, touches base on several aspects he viewed about society during the early to mid nineteen hundreds. Of these include the obsession with the accumulation of money and wealth of an indulgent and self-entitled society. He saw that the values of middle class society in this time were to imitate the upper class, by trying to gain social status and superficial recognition. Lawrence deeply hated these societal values. Mainly due to his first hand exposure to them as a child by having to witness his parents consume themselves to try to attain this type of social status. Lawrence uses the plot to demonstrate that in a materialistic society, people are misguided and completely obsessed with the accumulation of material wealth. Lawrence uses these literal examples to stress that because of greed; the importance of family is almost entirely discarded, leading to the degradation of ones values.
Lawrence wastes no time constructing a foundation to project his views upon. The opening of the story portrays an almost fairy tale like depiction of a mother named Hester, who “could not feel love, no, not for anybody” (Lawrence 81), not even for her own family. This immediate (and blunt) character development was meant to set the tone for the rest of the story and help the reader to see things from the same angle as Lawrence. The next pivotal character development is the development of Paul. Paul is a young, analytical boy who strives to feel close to and loved by his family. Lawrence’s own upbringing directly influences the development of Paul, as they both come from shallow, greed stricken households. This connection is what drives the passion behind the themes in this story. This is exemplified when Paul, heart set on pleasing his mother, goes on a “mad little journey” (Lawrence 84) to try and prove his luck by attaining the unattainable, the love of his mother.
A diminished significance of family relations is shown throughout the story the Rocking-Horse Winner. Hester, Paul’s mother, feels vacant inside because of the lack of material goods and money in her life, and without wealth, she feels like she lacks an identity. This strongly relates to the way Watkins uses the idea of capitalism as a metaphor to compare with the family’s relations with each other. Since, under capitalism, identity directly corresponds with material value and wealth. This sense of emptiness Hester feels is the reason why she cannot love her children with the love that should be prevalent in every mother, and this is why she showers Paul and his siblings with presents like the “shining modern rocking horse” and a “smart doll’s houses”, as reparation for her complete lack of lovingness towards them (Lawrence 82). The hollowness of the toys is meant to symbolize the emptiness felt inside by the mother and the children. Lawrence wrote about the family’s diminished state right at the beginning of the story with numerous metaphorical queues...

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