Monday, March 14, 2011

Describe a Central Theme in “The Rocking Horse Winner” Using the Formalist critical approach

Andrew Wangsatorntanakhun

November 29, 2010

English 333 Section 131

Professor Goodison

A central theme I would like to discuss in D.H. Lawrence's short story, “The Rocking Horse Winner,” is because this story, like the title, entails the survival of Paul and his mother and family for being obsessed with material wealth, as shown by Paul's mother. I think it is a lust for having material objects, and stylish living, and money that has obsessed Paul's mother too, because she has ignored the physical and emotional needs of her children, Paul and his sisters. In the end, Paul has been corrupted by his mother's obsession for material items. When Paul discovers that he has luck and money just like what his father lacked, he will think that it will make him more lovable to his mother. This will make Paul more obsessed with winning more money and eventually, his mental state (being crazy) kills him. Lawrence’s use of literary elements makes the story tragic.

Lawrence creates character by making Paul more sympathetic to the reader by explaining why he is helping his parents with their finances. The author of “The Rocking Horse Winner,” shows us who Paul is, he does not tell us. Paul's mother cannot show love to her children because she is obsessed with what material wealth can provide for her. I think, from the start, Paul is aware of his mother's desire for material wealth and takes advantage of the opportunity to be like his mother.

The plot and plot line are sad because Paul dies in the end. When Paul questions his mother's authority as his parent and inquires why they are the “poor members of the family,” his mother replies to him, “it's because your father has no luck.” Paul is unsatisfied with his mother's answer, and wants another explanation because he wants to know what makes a person lucky and another person unlucky. Paul is obsessed with finding the winners of the horse races by riding the rocking horse. Paul makes his own luck. It is sad because Paul is desperate to help get money for his parents and he does not know any other way. This makes him a tragic figure we can relate to. This is a conflict of the story, a little boy who is desperate to help his parents.

D.H. Lawrence uses setting to create tension in his short story. The characters in his story live in upper class England and they are desperate to make ends meet. In the family that Lawrence writes about, Paul is trying to help his parents tragically by making lots of money by riding the rocking horse. The setting creates a sad mood, therefore making the little boy a little bit young to be placing adult responsibility on himself to support his parents.

Last of all, I think Paul is naturally lucky in “The Rocking Horse Winner,” because to be successful in the society Paul and his mother and family live in, Paul has to have a certain amount of luck to survive and soon after, you will be able to make money. Paul is the first person to realize it because he asked his mother how come they don't have a vehicle like a car. When his mother replied they had financial difficulties, she gave an example like being poor and also because Paul's father has no luck. Paul's father cannot make money because he is unlucky and Paul mother's said that Paul's father realized he had to be rich than lucky, what Paul's father could not figure out was what how in Paul's situation, how you got lucky. Paul's mother thought that you had to be born rich, rather than being lucky because what Paul's father could not figure out was how you got lucky.

I think what drove Paul crazy in the end for his drive for material wealth was him riding like crazy on an old rocking horse, like D.H. Lawrence's short story title “The Rocking Horse Winner,” in Paul's bedroom. If Paul thought he could ride long enough he would be able to find luck and eventually find the winner of the horse race. In the end, what drove Paul crazy was that he should have been happy with the money he was making already, but he was becoming more obsessed with gambling and winning lots of money so he rode more and more harder on his rocking horse.

The story is told from a 3rd person omniscient point of view and when he is telling the story. Two examples are when Lawrence says, “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,” and the narrator knows what Paul's mother is thinking. The narrator also knows what Paul is thinking. Paul heard the secret whisper all over the house. “There must be more money! There must be more money!” as quoted from the story.

I think Paul is a dynamic character because we are interested in what makes him human in helping his parents out with their finances. I think that Paul was lucky to find lots of money because there was going to be a curse or a terrible price to pay if you are going to have luck and make money to survive. I think Paul is more unlucky than he is lucky because he realized how lucky he was to find money and make lots of money, but also in the end he became unlucky because he was obsessed by much money he made by gambling too much. In conclusion, Paul's obsession with money and racing was his weakness and downfall.

Works Cited

Lawrence, D.H. “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Gioia, Dana and Gwynn, R.S. (Eds.) “The Art of the Short Story. Lamar University. Pearson Longman, 2006. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment