FINANCIAL INFLUENCE ON MOTHER AND CHILD RELATIONSHIPS IN “ D.H LAWRENCE’S “THE ROCKING-HORSE WINNER”
By JULIA M.ALAI
In “The Rocking-Horse Winner” we are introduced to a woman who author D.H Lawrence states, “was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.” When I dive into the psychology behind that statement, I come up with a thought that this beginning draws similarities to Lawrence’s own upbringing with his coal miner father and schoolteacher mother. Similarly the mother in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is disenchanted with her marriage and the way her life has turned out. In Lawrence’s own childhood he had parents who were suspected of treason and very status minded. (559) When I look at the relationship in the opening of the story between mother and children it is one of feeling burdened and having been ill prepared for child rearing and mother hood. This family seems completely motivated and driven by social status and superficial impressions. It seems to me that the children were brought into the world not by want or out of love but by obligation and social standards. What was a woman back then who did not raise a family and keep a home? In my thesis paper I will dive deeper into Paul’s strained relationship with his mother and how it can be attributed in part to his observation of the financial struggles and hardships they have faced and how it ultimately is his undoing. I will also reflect on personal experience and call upon excerpts from other works and research papers and journals to strengthen my points. We are told about the lifestyle they strive for and the sacrifices that have been made. In particular the gifts at Christmas stood out to me as something many families struggle with. I know in recent years my family has scaled back on extravagant gifts and outings to save money. In some households gifts are a source of pride and boasting. During the conversation between Paul and his mother when Paul is pressing for information on why things are how they are, she comes out and says, “ Well I suppose it’s because your father has no luck,”(560) she seems almost reluctant and hesitant. We are introduced to the notion that Paul is vastly aware of the financial turmoil and issues his family is having. He equates luck to money, which on one hand his mother dismisses and states is not true, but throughout the story that is a significant theme. Money equates Luck. She very clearly resents her husband for his lack of financial success and this becomes apparent and detrimental to Paul’s development. In a study done by Xiao Zhang* of The Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, SAR, China, 407 children ages 3 to 5 and their parents were studied and examined to determine the effects of socioeconomic status and family income on the mother child and father child relationships. In the first study they reference done by Bakermans-Kranenburg, VanIJzendoorn and Kroonenberg (2004) it was found that family income had a positive prediction of maternal sensitivity and attachment security in mother-toddler relationships and development. I find this interesting and can directly correlate this study to Paul and his mother’s strained relationship. As I referenced earlier it is said that the mother never really bonded or formed that maternal relationship with her children. There is not a whole lot of love in that household. A child can easily pick up on coldness or being brushed aside as these children were. There is evidence in her discussion with Paul about money and luck, and of her trying to evade and rush the conversation. She seems bothered by more than interested in her children. In his journal Mr. Zhang cites the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment known as...
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