Essay about The Rocking-Horse Winner

Essay about The Rocking-Horse Winner

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D. H. Lawrence’s fable of materialism, affluence and a broken mother/son bond echoes greedy transgression. His writings are well-known for delving into human nature and he does an excellent job demonstrating the trait of materialism, morally questioning the value of love versus the hazard of greed. This upper-class family is shattered by avarice; their eventual downfall comes, despite the overwhelming effort of keeping up appearances. The mother’s misplaced affection for her children illustrates the negative results that wealth, destiny, and lack of love will produce -- the dehumanization of society as a whole.
“They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants, and felt themselves superior to anyone in the neighborhood. (100)” Despite their imaginary success, there was always an anxious feeling in the house because they never had enough money. “The father…had good prospects, these prospects never materialized (100).” The mother wanted to make money of her own, but “she racked her brains, and tried this thing and the other, but could not find anything successful. (101)”
The cost of their greed, in this case, is the heart of the family. Because they cannot control their urge to spend, they lose control of what should be most precious: their children. The mother, “a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages (100)” is, in her opinion, devoid of luck. Although she had married for love, the love doesn’t exist any longer. Her feelings of inadequacy towards being wealthy transferred to her own children. She imagined they were somehow put upon her, that “They looked at her coldly, as if finding fault with her (100)” and, therefore, she could not bring herself to show them love...


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...labar! Malabar! Did I say Malabar, Mother? Did I say Malabar? Do you think I’m lucky, Mother? I knew Malabar, didn’t I? Over eighty thousand pounds! I call that lucky, don’t you, Mother? (110)” The boy died in the night. The moment she began to feel love for her son, he was taken away.
“The Rocking-Horse Winner” is reminiscent of a fable, albeit a disturbing, shocking one. All the important elements of a fable are present: easy to understand language that could be understood by a child, a moral to the story that represents right from wrong, and a set of imaginary events that lead to a foregone conclusion. The moral of this story, however, is aimed directly at parents: Never live beyond your means and pay more attention to your children. This moral held true in upper-class 1800’s England, and could just as easily hold true in contemporary society today.

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