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Controversy Between Money and Love as Shown in "the Rocking-Horse Winner"

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Controversy between Money and Love

as shown in "The Rocking-Horse Winner"

The Rocking-Horse Winner is couched in the symbols of the ancient myths. The mother is poor, unsatisfied fairy princess who yearns for happiness; Paul is the gallant knight on horse-back who rides to her rescue (Junkins 261). The mythical aspect of the story is evident in the style and symbols. In the opening lines, the first seven words have a fable-like quality reminiscent of any number of fairy princess tales, yet the word advantages locates us in the atmosphere of the modern world, so does the word luck (Junkins 261). The reach of the symbolism is overwhelming, in some sense the story is "about" its literal, narrative level: the life of the family that chooses money instead of some more stable value, takes money as it's nexus of affection. The first fault lay with the mother (Snodgrass 117).

"There was a beautiful woman who started with all the advantages, yet she had

no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children,

yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them"

(Lawrence 1).

The story continues to tell us of Hester, who is unable to love her children and is obsessed with money. "Only she herself knew that at the center of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody."(Lawrence 1)

There were many problems in the household, one of which was a lack of love from the mother. As Lawrence wrote "Only she herself and her children themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each other's eyes" (Lawrence 1). During a conversation, Paul's mother mentions that luck is, "what causes you to have money. If you're lucky you have money. That's why it's better to be born lucky than rich. If you're rich you may loose your money. But if you're lucky you will always get more

Forbes 2

money."(Lawrence 1). The situation is then made worse by assuming that her misfortunes were caused by her marriage to an unlucky husband. "The father is clearly a failure as a provider and family-head, so much that we are scarcely conscious of his existence. And his failure is aggravated by the high social position the family tries to maintain (Koban 280). Lawrence tells us "the mother had a small income, and the father had a small income, but not nearly enough for the social position which they had to keep up."(1) Due to their financial position the house began to whisper "There must be more money! There must be more money!" (1)

When Paul learned from his mother that luck equals money, which in turn brings happiness, he believes if he can bring in money, it would make his mother happy, thus bringing love. From there he diverts all his attention to obtaining luck for his mother. The father withdrawal, of course, leaves a gap which encourages Paul in a natural Oedipal urge to replace his father (Snodgrass 118). Paul reacts by stating he is lucking and sets out on a mission to find luck and silence the house from whispering. "He went off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way,

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