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Monday, August 2, 2010

“The Rocking Horse Winner” Greed and Desire for more possessions

     D.H Lawrence’s “The Rocking Horse Winner” is an excellent paradigm of what greed and selfishness can do to a person’s life.  People need money to live, but only enough to live the basic life. Sadly the more money one has, the more money one wants. Desire for more money plays a great part in this story. Specifically the greed for more money causes all the conflicts in the story. Hester, Uncle Oscar and Paul are all driven to act irrationally and illogically as a result of their greed and desire for more possessions. This is demonstrated in Hester’s unreliability, Uncle Oscar irresponsibility and Paul’s aspiration for his mother love.
   Hester symbolizes unreliability in the story. Hester was from a high class family, who got married to an unlucky man who could not provide her enough satisfy. She compares money with luck and in the story, when Paul asked why they could not own a car she answers: “your father is not lucky”. Hester and her family were middle class, but they were living an opulent lifestyle. They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants but debt haunted the family. When Paul made 10,000 pounds from gabling on horse races and decided to give his mother 1000 pound a years on her birthday for five years. He wanted his winnings to be a secret so Uncle Oscar contacted a lawyer to handle the transaction of money to Hester. Paul saw the envelope from the lawyer with the money and asked his mother if she had received anything good in the mail. She said “quite moderately nice” in a silent voice. She liked getting the money, but she was not happy with it because she wanted all the money at the same time. That same day, she had a meeting with the lawyer and asked for the full amount of the money. When she received the full amount, she did not pay of her debt rather she chose to spend all of the money on new things for her house and her children.  This demonstrates her unreliable nature, which ultimately drive’s Paul to continue to gamble on horse racing in the hopes of satisfying his mother greed. In the end Hester receives 80,000 pounds but loses her only son. It is a natural thing to want money, but the mother took this want to extremes.
     Oscar Creswell is Paul’s uncle and he exemplifies irresponsibility. He is richer than Hester since he owns his own car. He is rich because he inherited the entire family fortune, leaving Hester to depend on her husband for support. Oscar does nothing to help Hester and her family. He does not give Hester money or help her family with their budget. When Uncle Oscar discovers Paul’s secret, he initially does not believe him.  He does not take Paul seriously and treat’s him as if he were a child playing an innocent game. When Oscar realizes Paul is lucky and he can win a great deal of money, he encourages Paul’s gambling. Oscar bet’s his own money, using Paul luck to make his own profit.  Paul is thirteen year old and yet Uncle Oscar uses him for his own benefit. He makes no effort to teach Paul about being careful with money or the dangers of gambling. At the end of the story Oscar says to Hester "My God, Hester you're eighty thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad.” If Oscar had known that the little boy was "a poor devil of a son to the bad", he should have stopped Paul from riding the horse that killed him.  Cleary Paul’s death is in part a consequence of Uncle Oscar’s irresponsibility.
     Luck means gaining something without meaning to or even knowing how to get it. Paul’s mother Hester confused him with the meaning of luck with money and now He believes that being lucky means being rich. Paul’s family was living a life they could not maintain. He and his two sisters always here an unspoken phrase Whispering throughout the house, "There must be more money! There must be more money!” Paul knew that his mother needed money and thought if he could get money, he would also get his mother’s love.  Therefore he goes on a quest to make money in hopes of capturing his mother’s love. He knew that money was what made her happy and he also knew that his mother could not feel any love, but he was firm in his belief that winning money would bring her luck as well as her happiness.  Paul became gambling partners with the gardener. He picked the horse, and the gardener placed the bet. Paul had started out with five shillings but his winnings kept adding up. When he earned 10,000 pounds it was proof of his luck, but he could not tell his mother how he earned it. Paul is really unlucky because he never got what he wanted. He never received love from his mother and he really did not finish his quest of capturing his mother love. He got his mother 80,000 pound, which made her happy but unfortunately he was not a life to see that. Paul could have stopped the gambling if he wanted to do but he wanted to see his mother happy. The price of her happiness cost him, but still he could not see his mother happy.
     Greed and desire for more possessions can drive a person to act foolishly. This can be proven by charter like Hester, Uncle Oscar and Paul in the short story “The Rocking Horse Winner” by D.H Lawrence’s. Hester unreliability put her family in dept, even when Paul gives his family greater income by gabling but she spends it unwisely. Uncle Oscar irresponsibility on Paul was one of the reasons for his death. Paul was only thirteen still uncle Oscar never warned him about the dangers of gambling, which is one the main reason for Paul death. Paul aspiration for his mother is another reason for his death. He wanted his mother love and he knew the only way to get that by money. He wanted to show his mother he was lucky, so he gambled to proof he was and to give an income to his mother for her love. The money he got by gambling only got her money in to more debt and caused his death. It is irony that rocking horse which brings him his luck is what brings him his death also.