Conflictthe rocking horse winner
Afamily is an essential part of everybody’s life. However, householdrelationships are always faced with conflicts due to diversemisunderstandings between members (Recchia 2). The short story, ‘TheRocking Horse Winner’written by D.H Lawrence, is a literary work which highlightsdifferent instances of conflicts. The author suggests that the coresource of the conflicts is people’s contradictory opinions aboutwealth (Lawrence 526). The paper highlights the instances of theconflicts while focusing on characters and settings.
Tobegin with, Lawrence mirrors the society’s materialism, and howpeople value material things. The aspect of greediness makes peopleto forget what really matters in life. The story talks about a familythat has a very low income and very high debts. Paul’s mother is acharacter who strongly believes that she is unlucky (Bar-Tal 12). She is constantly haunted by her failures. Her husband, who works asa commercial artist is not doing very well either financially. Anunspoken anxiety regarding money hovers around the house (Cortazzi34). The children begin to sense the distress and they claim that thehouse has been whispering, “There must be more money” (Lawrence526). On the other hand, Paul, who is the eldest son, is obsessedwith poverty and decides to act. He sets out to prove that he is oneof the lucky ones. The two hold a conversation regarding theirdistinct opinions. As they continue talking, it emerges that none ofthem seems to agree on the facts surrounding their economiccondition. Paul aims to receive an affirmative response from hismother. He demands to be told what makes one lucky and rendersanother person unlucky.
Paulbelieves that he was born lucky and since being blessed is linked tobecoming wealthy, he believes he can make money. "Mother, did Iever tell you? I am lucky!" (Lawrence 526). He comes up with anidea which seems childlike but nevertheless, it turns out to bebrilliant. He makes a decision to earn money by taking part in horseracing. Just as he had thought, the method proves to be effectiveand he demonstrates that money is indeed tied to luck (Recchia 8).When his uncle inquires on what he plans to do with the money, hetells him he will forward it to his mother so that she can startbelieving that they are indeed rich. In other words, he wishes toconfirm to the mother that luck brings money. Also, by giving hismother the money, he would definitely make her lucky (Lawrence 529).However, as the author’s expression of the conflict between thetwo, the mother receives the money, but she seems not excited oremotionally moved.
Paul’schallenges become the force behind the misunderstanding between themother and him. Even after his struggles, he does not succeed toplease the mother. For example, when his mother collects the money,she does not show any excitement or have a change of attitude. Healso does not get the love and affection that he thought he would get(Bar-Tal 14). The familial love that one achieves when sick becomesjust a dream for the young man. It in turn makes Paul to bet more sothat he can get extra money. Even though Paul manages to prove tohimself that he is indeed lucky, he does not convince his mother andthis pains him more (Lawrence 527). To some extent, there is a showthat the conflict is not easy to be resolved. He cannot convinceanyone that luck is connected to wealth.
Furthermore,Paul struggles in order to get a winning horse so that he can pleasehis mother. It becomes visible that his inspiration is to make moneyto help his family. The desire for his mother’s love and attentiontogether with the need to prove his luck push him. Paul ends upforcing himself to the limits (Lawrence 526). He is stressed becauseof failures in betting. But even after he falls, Paul keeps on withthe struggles and seems not ready to give up because he yearns tomake the mother believe in his opinion and ability.
Itreaches a point that Paul thinks that he has finally managed toresolves the internal conflict. It occurs when he begins making goodmoney from the bets and hopes that the mother would finallyappreciate his side. Paul manages to win eighty thousand pounds andgets proud of himself (Lawrence 530). Unfortunately, on the third dayof the horse Derby, Paul becomes tired and his condition begins todeteriorate. However, his mother remains oblivious to all that Paulhas sacrificed for (Cortazzi 34). She sees no reason for thestruggles and holds that nothing can make her luck to change.
Itsaddens that the conflict becomes the reason for Paul’s death.Prior to his demise, he appears to be confused and unceasingly urgesthat his mother acknowledges his luck (Cortazzi 27). She is, however,dissolute and unable to adopt a new view in order to comfort Pauleven on his dying bed. As a loving son, Paul believed that the mothercould be the only person who was able to save him (Recchia 11). Onthe other hand, the mother remains still and thinks that instead ofPaul living his life in conflict, constantly searching for luck, thenhe was better off dead (Lawrence 531).
Asimilar conflict in the story is presented through Hester’shopeless and unhappy marriage (Lawrence 531). She holds a belief thatmoney would be the answer to all her problems. Here, there is aconflict that brews between a husband and wife and it revolves aroundhow they perceive wealth and poverty. Hester sees her husband as alooser and blames him for all the misfortune in the family. Sheclaims that it is due to his unlucky nature that they are embedded inan endless poverty (Bar-Tal 19). To make matters worse, they bothseem to have very expensive tastes. However, they cannot afford mostof their desires because of their meager salaries. Just like in thecase of Paul and the mother, the conflict between Hester and herspouse is caused by the murmurs which are believed to put an end toluck. The husband attempts to stop the whispers by looking for moremoney but instead, they persist (Lawrence 532). He is constantlyannoyed by the whispers. They make him to struggle as they becomemore bothersome.
Inconclusion, women are the key sources of conflict in this story. Inthe end, Paul’s mother and Hester are seen losing the people theyshould have treasured more than wealth. The long-rooted conflictmakes Paul’s mother to lose the motherly love and she does not evengrieve for her son’s death. She only becomes consumed in the moneythat Paul leaves behind. Throughout the story the women never getsatisfied with the sacrifices made for their sakes and for thatreason, they forever remain in conflict.
Bar-Tal,Daniel. Intractable conflicts: Socio-psychological foundations anddynamics. Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.
Cortazzi,Martin. Narrative analysis. Vol. 12. Routledge, 2014. Print.
Lawrence,D. H. "The Rocking-Horse Winner." The Story and Its Writer.Ed. Anna Charters. Compact 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin`s,2011. 525-36. Print.
Recchia,Holly E., "Two Sides to Every Story?: Parents` Attributions ofCulpability and Their Interventions Into Sibling Conflict."Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 59.1 (2013): 1-22. Print.