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Monday, September 10, 2012

Greed in The Rocking Horse Winner

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The Rocking Horse Winner, by D. H. Lawrence is a short story in which money is a symbol of the substitution of love and affection. Lawrence presents an upper class family that is destroyed by greed because they always felt no matter how much money they had, they always needed more. This story is proof that Greed is one of the seven deadly sins.


At the beginning of this story the family did not have enough money to support their opulent lifestyle. D.H. Lawrence illustrates their situation like this �Although they lived in style they felt always an anxiety in the house. There was never enough money.” (p. 406) The family scrambles to pay bills at the end of the month but they keep servants and expensive toys under the tree during Christmas for their three children. An unspoken phrase whispered throughout the house, �There must be more money! There must be more money!” (p. 407) the whispering said. Even though the family had money, they wanted, they needed more.


The obsession of needing more money stems from the mother which has great influence on the whole house, especially her young son, Paul. The character of the other is portrayed negatively, she is not a very loving mother and she had a dysfunctional relationship with her family. She use to think she was lucky until she married her husband. Since her husband didn’t have very much money she felt they were unlucky. That is what she told Paul one day when he asked why they didn’t have a car of their own. She told him luck was what causes people to have money that she would rather be


lucky that rich. Paul told his mother he was lucky and she paid no attention to him. Her obsession soon became his obsession.


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Paul would ride his rocking-horse wildly demanding it to take him to luck. Nobody in the house knew why he rode the horse so furiously but the gardener, Bassett. Paul told Bassett that when he rode his rocking-horse until the end he gets the winning name to the horse races. Paul and the gardener became partners. He picked the horse and Bassett placed the bet. Paul had started out with the five shillings that his uncle Oscar had given him, but his winnings kept adding up. Soon after, Uncle Oscar became partners with Paul and Bassett. When Paul made 10,000 pounds he decided to give his mother 1,000 pounds every year on her birthday for 5 years. Paul didn’t want his mother to know he was lucky so his uncle set up the dealing with a lawyer. Paul saw the envelope from the lawyer and asked his mother if she had received anything good in the mail. She said �Quite moderately nice” (p.41) in a cold voice. She liked getting the money, but she wasn’t happy, she wanted more.


The same day, she had a meeting with the lawyer who was handling the money. Paul’s mother demanded the full sum. Paul agreed, she received the money. The author informs the reader, �There were certain furnishings, and Paul had a tutor…There were flowers in the winter, and a blossoming of the luxury that Paul’s mother had been use to.” (p. 414) The money ran out quickly. The voices in the house screamed even more, �Oh-h-h, there must be more money. Oh, now, now-w! Now-w-w there must be more money-more than ever!” (p. 414) The mother had created a vicious cycle. Paul hated that the house was taunting them and his obsession intensified. He rode his horse day and night


searching for the winning horse for the upcoming Derby. He rode himself sick. The winning horse finally came to him, but it was too late. They placed the bet as they always do and he won 80,000 pounds. As Paul lay in his bed looking very frail Bassett told him the news. Paul died. As he lay their breathless all his mother could hear is 80,000 pounds. Right before his death Paul asked his mother if he ever told her he was lucky. Her response was �No, you never did.” (p. 417) But he did tell her that day, if she would have paid attention, would she have stopped him?


People need money to live, and enough to buy the basic goods one need to survive, but everybody wants more money. More money means an easier life. The more money one has, the more money one wants. The family, especially the mother, always wanted more money in the story The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence. The Mother got more money but it was spent quickly and debt haunted the family. In the end the mother received 80,000 pounds but lost her only son. It is a natural thing to wanted money, but the mother took this want to extremes





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