The Rocking Horse Winner Character Analysis

The mother in “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is an example of the financial elitist mentality that can plague households. In a society where people’s success in life is judged by the opulence of their homes, rather than the happiness, one can easily become caught up with trying to live beyond their means. Coming from a well off family, she has constantly been exposed to a grandiose lifestyle where money rules. It was once she married and left the comforts of her parents lifestyle that she realized how she wouldn’t be able to keep up the same life. “I used to think i was [lucky], before i married. Now i think i am very unlucky indeed” (p.222). She see’s her husband and her kids as the reason that her luck has run out, causing her children to discern that their mother doesn’t love them due to her lust for money. Although people seemed to think she was a loving mother, it was a different picture on the inside. “Only she herself, and her children themselves, knew it was not so.” (p.220) This lack of love was a detriment to the children, resulting in Paul’s death. The Mother was extremely selfish and materialistic to allow herself to be so taken in by something as trivial as social status. Paul was then forced to act on his own to attempt to provide for his family, so that his mother could focus on the children and not the burden of not having enough money. When Paul secretly gifts his mother money, she keeps it concealed to everyone. Her greed consumed her to the point where she couldn’t even let her family know about the money so that she could keep it for herself, and not share it with her children. As Paul’s health deteriorates, she begins to realize how much more important her family is than the perception of class. “And then, because of a strange anxiety at her heart, she stole upstairs to her son’s room.” (p.233) She feels anxious as if through a bond between her and her son, she can sense that something isn’t as it should be with him. She finally realizes her bond with her children and pays them the attention that they have been due. She becomes aware that the routine of over extending themselves financially to maintain the perception of class was masking what was really important in her life, her children.


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