David Herbert Lawrence is one of the most outstanding writers and brilliant literary critics of English literature. The major themes of his works were a confrontation between man and society, the essence of power, and relationships between men and women. Lawrence is a thinker with a developed worldview. His works are full of protest against the mechanization of life and the honest protection of man's freedom of feelings and passions. Many of the writers works are the results of cruel effects of industrialization and progress on the human. The Rocking-Horse Winner, written by David Herbert Lawrence is an example of the inheritance of a capitalistic society where each family was forced to earn more money despite unsatisfactory consequences. The author demonstrates his attitude to the money-dominated society; in his short story, he criticizes the power of money and the influence of the capitalist society on human relationships. The theme of The Rocking-Horse Winner is the destructive power of greed, which destroys human feelings, relationships, and even lives. Money is the root of all evil. The main character of the story Paul is a victim of a capitalist society where he puts all his effort, strength, and health into riding to luck.
In The Rocking-Horse Winner Lawrence shows the value of love and happiness that is betrayed for the dangerous affection of money. The author also emphasizes the role of a mother who neither loves her son nor her family and life. Her actions express love and kindness to the children, but internally feelings are focused on money. According to Lawrence (1979), at the center of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody (p. 140). Mother deceives herself, her children, and her husband; her only aim is to have more money. It can be assumed that this theme was taken by Lawrence from his own life: English writer was a beloved son of a proud and domineering mother, who despised her husband rude and half-educated miner. Hester is the wife of the unsuccessful commercial artist. She has no love for him; everything that she needs his money, which a poor man cannot give her. Thus, the author states, There must be more money! There must be more money! (Lawrence, 1979, p. 174). Pauls's mother is upset about her life as a middle-class woman. Capitalist society forces this family to think that money is half the battle, and the number of money determines their happiness. The main female character chooses money rather than human values such as love and care. Gradually she turns away from her family and succumbs to the temptation of gold coins. According to Lawrence (1979), She married for love, and the love turned to dust (p. 56). Nevertheless, she is a representative of women with a weak will. The influence of the capitalist society is so strong that it forces loving mother and wife to refuse her feelings in hard times.
Hesters son Paul is eager to do all his best to receive the love of his mother. However, he is a representative of the masses, who tries to win mothers' respect and care. Thus, a young boy wants to have as much money as possible for his mother. Paul thinks that he will have her happiness and love if he gives her money and has luck. The boy is a victim of capitalist society. All money that he wins from the horse races is a symbol of capitalism and its harmful influence on people. The author shows that such people are led by culture and society despite their natural kindness. Thus, man becomes a victim and believes that he has caught luck. Paul is abused with thoughts of luck and money to find favor in the mother's eyes. This male character is an example of the impact of a capitalist society that destroys health and life. Even Hester pushes her son to the actions; her mind is full of thinking about luck and money. According to Lawrence (1979), It's what causes you to have money. If you're lucky you have money (p. 103). All mother's anxiety is passed down to their son, who rides the rocking horse to predict the winning horse's name and to win money.
One of the aspects that have been a pledge of well-being within capitalist society is luck. However, all troubles and misfortune of Pauls's family, as they thought, is lack of luck. Hester answers the son's question of why they are poor, it's because your father has no luck (Lawrence, 1979, p. 44). Thus, she blames others for all her problems, but not herself. Luck is a solution to all the problems of Pauls's family. Luck is a key to their wealth: Hester will be satisfied to have plenty of money and well-being. Luck is also a sense of Pauls's living; he wants to make her mother happy. The main female character thinks about money and standards of the capitalist society despite sufficient mind of what she is and needs. Paul is not only a victim of capitalist society but also working for his mother. He puts all his effort, strength, and health to provide a wealthy living for her. This young boy is the symbol of the capitalist society, where each worker is obeyed to his needs, and the more man provides the more social needs. Hence, capitalism policy is oriented on social progress, which puts material above common and natural human values; it is an unceasingly dynamic being. Money in the short story is a symbol of a major and obsessive issue that changes not only man, his thoughts and desires, but also influences the world of the characters.
Paul is looking for the love and attention of Hester despite the evaluation of luck. However, for native people, this is mostly talking about luck and searches for such luck, which will bring a lot of money. Paul is a boy who has grown up under the influence of his greedy mother. Hester always talks about money and wealth living and gradually her son starts to believe that luck is everything that humanity needs to be happy and rich. Nevertheless, their family was not poor; they had a normal life, which Pauls's mother did not appreciate. According to Lawrence (1979), They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants (p. 10). Hester blames her husband for the fact that she is not a lucky woman. Thus, Paul believes that he is a lucky boy because of his gift and he tries to make the mother happier than she is. The young boy gives Hester a gift on her birthday, which was one thousand pounds, but this action did not bring happiness into this family. However, Pauls's mother went to talk to the lawyer, who decided that she will get more money. This episode of the short story symbolizes Hester's greed and the greed of capitalist society. The author shows the ideals of capitalism in the character and greed of the mother; she reserved five thousand pounds that was not enough and wanted to have more money. Pauls's efforts to win their mother's love and attention through winning the money on horse races led to his demise in the end. The boy, in pursuit of luck, lost himself, his strength, and his health.
Hence, the main purpose of Paul is to free his mother from money abuse. The boy wants to give her everything she needs, and her only need is money. He is a young boy who has ridden his rocking horse in search of a great prize. All his thoughts are concentrated on having luck, which will bring him victory. Pauls's destination is love that is necessary for the child. However, his mother made her son a victim of her own greed. Despite this, Paul continues to attract mothers' attention by the cost of living and health. The author also shows parents' behavior and attitude toward the children in those days. Nevertheless, there is one more character, who perfectly symbolizes the greed of the capitalist society. With the help of his uncle, Paul wins a lot of money on horse racing.
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Besides, Paul and his mother are both victims of a capitalist society. The relationships between them are concentrated on money and luck that is characteristic of capitalism. Boys' mother is eager to have more money; it is everything that she needs. Luck is a key to her happiness and wealth. The female character is never satisfied and blames everybody for her problems, but not herself. The Rocking-Horse Winner by David Herbert Lawrence is a representative of greedy and materialistic values that existed in a capitalist society. Paul and his mother are only examples of its influence; they are victims of a society where money is dominant over natural human values such as love, understanding, and support. Paul is not a brave knight, whom he reminds riding on his particular and mystic horse, but he is a child, who sacrificed his effort, strength, and health in pursuit of luck. The author demonstrates his criticism of money that is the main association with capitalism. Relationships between people were based on profit and making more money. The Rocking-Horse Winner is a warning for people to avoid mistakes when riding to luck, as in the narrative, it led to the demise of an innocent child.
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