In "The Rocking-Horse Winner," how do you explain the ever louder voices in the house?
This story is a moral parable. A young boy with a child's limited understanding of the world tries to win his mother's love. He realizes that she wants more money and luck in her life but doesn't understand that her desire for money and the status it brings is not rational. Instead, it is her way of trying to fill an empty space in her soul: "at the centre of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody." Given her inner void, there can never be enough money in the household to fill her hole.
The family feels this lack of love as lack of money. The futility of Paul's sincere desire to fulfill this lack by giving his mother money he has won from betting at the races comes clear when the extra funds only feed the mother's addiction for more money. The "house" is the mother, who defines herself by such externals as the appearance of her home, and whose appetite for money is only whetted by getting more money. As she tastes what money can buy, she screams for more and more, and wants it "now," as a drug addict might want more of a narcotic.
Sadly, Paul is too young understand that his solution is wrong: he will die trying to fulfill his mother's emptiness.
It is important to realise that D. H. Lawrence used this story as a vehicle for expressing his own concerns and worries about materialism and greed and how it could destroy individuals and families. Interestingly, the mother in this story was actually based on one of the author's friends, and apparently displayed very similar characteristics. It is clear that the voices in the story become louder and louder at a key moment when Paul has organised for his mother to receive some of the money that he has won through his gambling. What is interesting is that, instead of becoming quieter, the voices actually do the opposite:
And yet, the voices in the house, behind the sprays of mimosa and almond blossom, and from under the piles of iridescent cushions, simply trilled and screamed in a sort of ecstasy: "There must be more money! Oh; there must be more money. Oh, now, now! Now--there must be more money!--more than ever! More than ever!"
Thus Lawrence shows the self-destructive cycle that greed and materialism can lead us into, and how, when we have gained some money, it appears to be never enough, and only drives us on to seek more and more and more.