The Rocking-Horse Winner
Money--it seems to be able to provide anything the heart desires. But, in reality, money can never produce true satisfaction and will eventually destroy its holder. D.H. Lawrence's "The Rocking-Horse Winner" (rpt in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 8th ed. [Fort Worth: Harcourt, 2002] 302) describes a "poor" family with very expensive taste that never seems to gain satisfaction. Their house silently whispers "There must be more money!" (303), implying that to be happy, this family must obtain more riches. The little boy in the story, Paul, tries to silence the whisperings and give his family some peace of mind because he is supposedly "lucky." However his plan proves unsuccessful and eventually leads to his death and the end of his "luck."
The mother in the story is characterized in a combined indirect and direct manner. Lawrence presents her inner-thoughts and mannerisms in the first few paragraphs. She is described as being "beautiful…but with no luck…married for love, and the love turned to dust." The mother also felt an uncanny hardness towards her own children. On the other hand, one can perceive an indirect presentation as well because the reader can infer from her actions the way she feels toward those around her. The mother can be said to differ from the stepmothers in fairytales such as "Cinderella" and "Hansel and Gretel" because she actually attempts to love her children. Although she has a hardened nature, there still is a desire for love deep within. In the fairytales, however, the women held a hatred toward the children and simply wished difficulty upon them.
At one point, the young boy asks his mother if luck is money. the irony in that simple question is that he is "lucky" and gains an impressionable amount of money. Paul also speaks of filthy lucre or "filthy lucker" as he calls it. This filthy lucre is actually a love for money, not the actual currency itself, and...
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