The Rocking Horse Winner, Theme Analysis

1060 words - 4 pages

The story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" written by D. H. Lawrence tells of a young boy named Paul who tries to win his mother's affection by giving her that which she seems to want more than anything else, MONEY. The house in which the family lives is haunted by a voice that speaks the phrase, "There must be more money!" Everyone in the house can hear the voice but nobody ever acknowledges it. Paul and the family gardener, Bassett, begin to talk about horse races one day and they soon begin to bet on them. Paul's uncle, Oscar, learns of this and becomes a partner with Paul and Bassett. They are quite successful in their endeavor, because Paul is the one who chooses the horses that they bet on. They always seem to win. He goes about finding the winner by riding his rocking horse until the name of the winning horse becomes clear in his head. This method has never the team. Paul decides to give his mother, Hester, 5,000 pounds of his winnings, which is to be paid out one thousand pounds at a time on her birthday for the next five years. While Paul was trying to figure out the winner of the Derby, his mother went to check on him because she had heard a strange noise coming from his room. She opened the door and saw Paul rocking his horse like a madman. Paul screamed, "It's Malabar! It's Malabar!" and then collapsed onto the floor. Paul died a few nights later. This is obviously a story about family and the feelings of shame that we acquire from our parents that could have disastrous consequences for the whole family as was the case with Paul's. We will look at Paul's mother's obsession with money, Paul's plan to please his mother, and the price the family paid for wanting more money.

First, we will look at the feelings of shame that led to Hester's obsession with having money. In the story, Paul asks his mother why they don't have a car of their own and she tells him that they don't have one because they are the poor members of the family. She explains to Paul that they are poor because her husband has no luck. Hester equates having money with being lucky. She never seems to be happy with what she has got: three beautiful children, a husband who loves her, a nice house, and servants. I think that the family's quest for more money stemmed from their having expensive tastes in things. Another example of Paul's mother's obsession with money is that she took a job sketching figures of ladies in furs and such for local newspaper advertisements. She took this job not because she needed the money but because she wanted more money. She was still not satisfied because she only made several hundreds of pounds a year. When Paul gave his mother five thousand pounds she asked if she could have it...

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