Lack of Mother’s Love Leads to Abnormal Behavior in
D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking Horse Winner”
In the short story, “The Rocking-Horse Winner,” D. H. Lawrence portrays the main character, Paul, as someone who adopts an abnormal behavioral quirk and takes it to the ultimate extreme. He is the young son of a poor family in England whose members equate luck with money and money with love, consequently Paul has a distorted perception of what is required to be considered successful and also how to find affection. Much of Paul’s perception and consequent behavior can be attributed to his mother, who is a self absorbed spendthrift. Her general coldness and lack of interest imparts in Paul a desperation to find a way to provide her with the money she so obviously desires. He exhibits a great mount of luck in naming winning horses, which he attributes to his superstitious behavior. This abnormal behavior so consumes Paul that it leads to the end of his life in a failed attempt to gain his mother’s love. Paul’s determination to win, his hunger for his mother’s love and the abnormal, self-destructiveness behavior he exhibits are a direct result of his mother’s lack of emotion. Paul’s innocent determination to please his mother is what leads him down the path to his ultimate destruction. Paul’s mother first plants the seeds of this determination through her never-ending references to money, or lack thereof. Due to this repeated refrain, Paul imagines the house echoes his mother’s words by whispering: “There must be more money!” (Lawrence, page#). His mother attributes the family’s lack of money to their tendency to be unlucky – his father is unlucky at making money and she is unlucky for marrying him – rather than recognizing it is her own spendthrift ways which have put the family in their financial crisis. Paul asserts that he, however, is lucky because God, speaking to him through his rocking horse, has told him so. He...