Paul is a sweet an innocent child who wants to help solve his family's financial problems and hopes to win approval and love from his cold and distant mother. He becomes fixated and anxious at providing more and more money for his insatiable mother, without realizing he is just a child and should not be responsible for such things.
Hester is Paul's mother, who does not care for anything but money. She not only wants a lot of money, she is terrible with the managing of any money she gets. The monthly income she gets does not bring welcome relief, it is not enough for her. She wants it all in a lump sum. It is gone as fast as she gets it, because she uses it to buy new things, not take care of the bills she already accumulated. She deprives Paul of seeing any joy or comfort from his hard work, instead all she lets him see is her anger and need for more. Nothing Paul does is good enough to win any heartfelt feelings from her. Even as she watches him wither away, she is incapable of feeling any maternal feelings toward her son.