Comparison and Contrast Everyday Use and the Rocking Horse Winner

Topics: Social status, Sociology, Social class Pages: 2 (634 words) Published: December 2, 2005
The Public View Over That Of Those Close To You

Today, people's quest for a certain social status often affects their relationship with those they love. Social status is the rank in the social hierarchy based on the amount of friends and nice things a person may have. In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, the mother was trying to maintain her very low social status and in "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence, the mother was trying to maintain her high social status. In each story, an obsession with social status jeopardizes a mother's relationship with her children.

Dee's desire for a high social status pushes her mother, Mrs. Johnson, away from her. Since Mrs. Johnson kept her life simple and "Dee wanted nice things… Often I fought the temptation to shake her,"(p.26). Dee's mother was angered by her daughter's desire for nicer things because she wants her children to have a simple life. Also, she wants her children to be just like her. Although Mrs. Johnson and her other daughter, Maggie, cannot read, Dee could read and her mother thought that Dee, " . . . read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make-believe, burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn't necessarily need to know."(p.26) She does not want to be bothered with knowing more than she already knows. Since Mrs. Johnson feels that she or her daughters do not need to know anything else, she forces her daughter, Dee, to go away in order to gain knowledge and have a high social status. Mrs. Johnson satisfaction with her low social status affects both of her daughters and makes them suffer.
In "The Rocking Horse Winner", Hester, the mother, struggles to maintain her high social status, an effort that eventually leads to the death of her son, Paul. Her family lives in luxury, but "There was never enough...
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