The Rocking-Horse Winner

The Rocking-Horse Winner

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The main themes in “ The Rocking-Horse Winner” are the pursuit of love and luck. Both of the main characters in " The Rocking-Horse Winner", Hester and Paul, are in pursuit of love. First the mother, Hester married for love, and the love faded, she gained children from her marriage, but she could not love them. Nowhere in her life does she find love for anyone but herself. The closest thing to love that comes to her she rejects. That comes in the form of her young son Paul. Her feelings towards her children, especially, Paul, is exemplified when her children are around, she always feels the center of her heart go hard. Everybody thought of her as a great mother who loved her children, but only she knew that her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love not for anyone, not even her children who desperately need it. Success for Hester is acquiring more wealth to hide her inadequacies. Their family was poor, although they didn’t appear to be. The mother spent the money that they had and more at times, its human nature to want more. She simply was following the implications of society and have money and live large. Paul had a conversation with his mother about luck. From this talk he decides that her love is to be bought with love and luck. To her luck is something that brings money; if you are lucky you can keep the money. Paul assumed if he would get lucky and give her money she would become happy. Her happiness would then succeed into love for him, or so he thought. His mother became greedier than ever, she cared more about money than loving her son. Paul accumulates money from horse races. Basset the gardener, Oscar the uncle and Paul were associated with the betting scheme, yet keeping it unknown to the mother. Paul had the ability of picking the winning horse at a race if he felt absolutely sure. He would get on his rocking horse and rock and rock until he got to where he wanted to go, as if he actually was in the race riding the horse at the racetrack and returns from his trance-like state after completing the race with the name of the winning horse. Nearing to the final derby, Paul said he had to know the winner, so he drove himself hard till he knew.

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In a way he was driven to exhaustion by his mother’s greed and the whispering house. His final efforts to conjure up the winning horse made him very ill and frail. After he was told that his horse had won, he turned to his mother and said “ Mother did I ever tell you? I am luck!” she replied by saying “No, you never did” proving that she never indeed cared for her children. During the night Paul died not knowing if his mother loved him then. Paul had left her eighty thousand pounds that he had won from the final derby, which he had hoped would strengthen her love for him, but probably not. In my opinion his luck in the story was actually not luck at all, but a contribution to his mother's bad luck. Because of his death he looses the one thing that he ever really wanted, love and real affection. Paul's uncle tells his mother after his death " My God Hester, you're 80-odd thousand to the good, but a poor devil of a son to the bad" meaning that she never realized how lucky she was to have a son that loved her and cared about her as much as Paul did. In the end his mother had lost the one thing that had truly loved her, and she has lost the only source of her true happiness, Paul's money. Literal criticism The Rocking-Horse Winner is an anti-materialistic fable because it tells you to not value money more than you value love or people. The whole story centers around a small boy trying to win the love and admiration of his mother who only loves money. His determination leads him to his death and even in his dying words he is trying to prove to his mother that he is lucky, which to him is synonymous with money. The mother, Hester, is greedy and lives for the all-mighty dollar. Paul, the boy, wins all this money betting on the horses to please Hester and when she gets it, it still isn't enough. I guess it goes to show you, live for money, die for money!


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