In "The Rocking-Horse Winner," why did Paul have to die?

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Paul dies because he has driven himself into frenzies until he is weakened. Furthermore, Paul's death is Lawrence's cautionary observation on the misdirection of one's life force as a result of social pressures.

When he learns of the Derby and the high stakes involved, Paul rocks on his horse even...

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Paul dies because he has driven himself into frenzies until he is weakened. Furthermore, Paul's death is Lawrence's cautionary observation on the misdirection of one's life force as a result of social pressures.

When he learns of the Derby and the high stakes involved, Paul rocks on his horse even in the night, exhausting himself. 

The Derby was drawing near, and the boy grew more and more tense. He hardly heard what was spoken to him, he was very frail, and his eyes were really uncanny.

Paul's house echoes the sounds of a mother who can no longer fulfill her role. Her love for her husband has turned "to dust," and her children sense the emptiness of life in their house. "[T]he house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase, There must be more money! There must be more money!" This desire which is really that of the mother is what drives Paul to rocking in a frenzy on his little horse. Paul tries to win his mother's love, allay her fears about money, and silence the house. However, he drives himself so hard that he dies. 

 

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