The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence Essay

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The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence

Written in 1933, D.H. Lawrence's short story "The Rocking Horse Winner" illustrates the consumptive nature of materialism. Through author's use of characterization, symbolism, and language in The Rocking Horse Winner, Lawrence successfully portrays a greedy and cold hearted mother, Hester, who attempts to fulfill the dissatisfaction in her life using wealth and material comfort. Lawrence uses Hester as an example to convey to the readers that materialism isolates one from love and ultimately leads to destruction.

Lawrence uses language that evokes irony and disgust to describe Hester in order to illustrate her coldness and inability to love anybody except herself. "She married for
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Lawrence also emphasizes Hester's materialism by demonstrating her childish belief that wealth and material possessions are the substitutes of love and are capable of making up for the dissatisfactions in life. Even though she goes through the motions of being a good mother well enough to fool her neighbors and friends, she is unable to hide the truth from her children. "They read it in each other's eyes." (407) Therefore, she uses "expensive and splendid toys" (407) to fulfill her children's nursery, as if they can fulfill their needs for love as well. Lawrence uses the ironic tone in the expression to illustrate Hester's shallowness. She believes that wealth is the indication of social status; thus it brings satisfaction into her life. The "new furniture" and "flowers in the winter" (414) are all the means she uses to fulfill her life. However, Hester's cold heart remains empty because the more she has the more she wants. Through the language and imagery, Lawrence conveys to the readers that money and material possessions cannot fulfill the dissatisfaction in life, instead, they lead to more outrageous desires.

Lawrence also uses symbolism to intensify Hester's materialistic greed. It seems that there is never enough money for Hester to be satisfied. The whisper that comes from the walls of their house, "There must be more money!" is the symbol of Hester's endless craving for wealth and material comfort. Lawrence's description of
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