What are the symbols in "Rocking Horse Winner" and how do they relate to English materialism?"
ms-mcgregor | Certified Educator
This story is about materialism, not just in England, but universally. The mother could represent any mother who must live above her income in order to "keep up with the Jones''. The author does not even give her a name until the end of the story. She is like a lot of people who want more money that they have and focus on their desires instead of things they do have. One of the things the mother has is a devoted little boy. His rocking horse symbolizes his desire to obtain money for his mother and "his own sexuality The rocking horse is a 'mount' which is 'forced' onwards into a "frenzy. These actions suggest sexual activity but make the audience uncomfortable because the boy is so young and the motivation for his actions are because of his mother. The rocking horse can also represent a desire for money that leads to nothing because, in truth, the rocking horse never goes anywhere. Thus, the materialism displayed by the mother causes her unhappiness as well as the death of her son.