The Effects of Greed in D.H. Lawrence's The Rocking Horse Winner

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In the “Rocking Horse Winner”, a story that represents the vicious effects of greed, D.H. Lawrence uses symbolism to develop the idea that life, love and happiness can be stripped away by the compulsive nature of never being satisfied. Lawrence utilizes the following symbols such as Hester’s character, the house and the rocking horse to portray to the readers the costly effects of materialistic behavior. The powerful presence of symbolism is seen throughout the story.
Hester’s character is utilized by Lawrence to embody greed. She desires large sums of money to live a privileged life with materialistic things she thinks she deserves. Early on in the story Lawrence makes clear to the readers that she has no emotional attachment to her children, “She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them”.(601) Even though she was blessed with a family she was incapable of showing them love. This shows to the readers that she desires wealth more than her children. To the external world she appeared to be a loving mother dedicated to her children, “she is such a good mother” “she adores her children”. But only she knew “that at the centre of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love” (Lawrence 601) not for anybody not even for her children.
Hester’s way of showing affection to her children was only seen by buying them materialistic things like toys. In that sense money can be a “symbolic substitute for love and affection”; ( Snodgrass 118) this again shows she is incapable of having an emotional connection to them. The only thing Hester showed any emotional connection towards was money and no amount was ever enough. Her son Paul realizes his mother’s obsession with money and bel...

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...ion. The most important concept Lawrence has instilled to his readers through this story was “learning to live according to what you are, not what you think you should be made into”. (Snodgrass 120) If Hester was able to be satisfied with the life she was given her family’s life, love and happiness would have blossomed.

Works Cited

Lawrence, D.H. "The Rocking-Horse Winner." The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. New York: W.W Norton, 2013. 601-12. Print.
Martin, W.R. "Fancy or Imagination? "The Rocking-Horse Winner"" College English. 1st ed. Vol. 24. N.p.: National Council of Teachers of English, 1962. 64-65. JSTOR. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. .
Snodgrass, W. D. "A Rocking-Horse: The Symbol, the Pattern, the Way to Live." The Hudson Review 11.2 (1958): 191-200. JSTOR. Web. 22 Feb. 2014. .
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