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D.H. Lawrence

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A Young Boy's Gift

The story of "The Rocking-Horse Winner" written by D.H. Lawrence is an account of a young boy's amazing ability to pick out winners in horse-racing. Lawrence portrays a tale of a family, short of money. Paul, the young boy is possessed with a mother incapable of showing any love. The voices in their house whispering, "There must be more money! There must be more money!" causes Paul to take further action in order to please his mother's financial needs and silence the house's haunting whispers. He sets out to find a way to get money through his luck, luck his mother lacked. In retrospect, Paul's desire to make more money for his family grows so intense that he falls into an illness and dies. Responsibility, generosity and greed, and the pursuit of love and luck are major themes in "The Rocking-Horse Winner", which can be seen through the use of D.H. Lawrence's characterization of Paul and Hester.

The first major theme seen in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is Responsibility. Paul's mother, Hester is obsessed with wealth which is pitted against the responsibilities of parenting. We usually find that it is the responsibility of the parents to provide for the children in a family. In addition, it is also the responsibility of the parents to squander and finance their money carefully. However, in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" Lawrence portrays the parents of Paul as unsuccessful with financial dealings. "The father, who was always very handsome and expensive in his tastes, seemed as if he never would be able to do anything worth doing. And the mother, who had a great belief in herself, did not succeed any better, and her tastes were just as expensive" (Para. 4, lines 5-7). Hester's wasteful attitudes turn her responsibility as a parent in the wrong direction. As a result of this Paul takes on the responsibility to contribute, a responsibility Paul seems to be unaware of. Lawrence's use of responsibility as a theme can be related to our everyday lives. He may be trying to portray a message to us; how responsibility contributes to the way in which we should go about taking on responsibility either as parents or as children. This theme plays a major role in "The Rocking-Horse Winner".

The difference between Paul's generosity and his mother's greed is another theme of "The Rocking-Horse Winner". In order to lighten Paul's family's urgent need for money, he openhandedly offers all his winnings to the family. His only concern is relieving the perceived anxiety in the house caused by the lack of financial income. Paul's motivation to do this comes only from his desire to help his mother. This unselfish generosity of Paul is contrasted with his mother's greed and selfishness. For example, when Hester first becomes aware of the news from her lawyer that she has "inherited" 5,000 pounds from a long lost relative (a scheme dreamed up by Paul), she immediately asks her lawyer to retrieve the entire amount straight away. After this she does not inform the rest of her family of their good fortune, instead she spends it foolishly on things for herself. In result of this Paul's plan to earn money for his family turns into a need for even more money for the family. Paul's character compared to his mother's character is completely different. In a childish innocent way, Paul gives to his family, without any yearning for a thank you or without any intentions to suit any needs of his own. On the other hand, Hester is unaware of how this money or where this money is coming from and her actions taken by this shows that she doesn't even care. She has become extremely obsessed with wealth that even her heart turns to stone; she portrays no sadness even when her son dies. Lawrence, in this story, creates an emphasis on how important it is to be unselfish. He portrays this through the theme generosity and greed.

The last major theme of "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is the pursuit of love and luck. Hester has a lack of love for her children. This can be seen throughout the whole story, "She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them" (Para.1, lines 2-3). She had no love for anyone. Although at the end of the story it may seem Hester cares through her concern about Paul's deteriorating health,



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