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In this short story, "The Rocking Horse Winner," there is a little boy
competing for his mother's love, and his mother bringing her son to his
death with her confusing vocabulary. Paul's mother confuses him with her
vocabulary words such as: love, money, lucky, unlucky, and peace of mind.
She tells him that luck has to do with everything, and that she was
extremely unlucky. Paul's family were not poor, but his mother wanted to
compete with other families by having the best and the most stylish. She
complains about not having enough money that the house starts to echo the
phrase, "There must be more money!"
This statement caused the children, especially Paul the oldest, feel the
need to help find more money. Paul does this by gambling with the gardener
at the horse race track. Paul wins a lot of money before any of his family
finds out. Success for Paul is getting on the rocking horse and staying on
to the point that he dies from nervous exhaustion. His uncle finds out, but
he decides to let him continue to gamble to see if he can actually win some
money. Paul wants to start giving his mother some of the money on yearly
basis, but she ends up wanting it all. Success for his mother is acquiring
more wealth to hide her inadequacies. This makes her worse; the more she
has, the more she wants.
Paul would ride his imaginary racetrack on a rocking horse and he would
return from his trance-like state with the winner's name. This rocking horse
happens to be a modern age toy with regular metal springs from back in
earlier times, a product of the modern "working man," age given at the most
material of holidays-Christmas. The symbol of the horse has traditionally
been as a transport for the soul and often regarded as an omen of death.
When Paul confused luck with lucre, his mother explained that "luck is what
causes you to have money.lucre does mean money." Paul's continual confusion
leads him to find his "luck" of knowing the winning horses. Paul is
successful at reaching this goal and fulfilling his mother definition of
luck. However, he is extremely unlucky in not receiving his mothers love and
approval, which all children want, need, and deserve. He was never given the
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Luck means gaining something without meaning to or even knowing how to
obtain it. Now that Paul's mother has confused him with the meaning of luck,
therefore he believes that luckiness, was richness. So, if you're lucky you
will have plenty of money. Having good luck for Paul would be to see his
mother happy. He knew that money was what made her happy he also knew that
his mother "could feel no love" by looking in her eyes, but he was certain
that winning the money would bring her luck as well as cause her happiness.
His mother's definition also gave him the idea that if he got money, his
mother would love him. This is why being lucky is so important to him.
The money he made was proof of his luck that he could show to his mother and
earn her love. Paul is really unlucky because he never got what he wanted.
He never received love from his mother, which he should already have had.
Paul, who was just merely a child, lost his life in the struggle for luck
and lucre. How unlucky can one person actually be? Power corrupts, and
absolute power corrupts absolutely; actually this could be the moral of the
story because the more money that came in, the greedier she became.