In "The Rocking-Horse Winner,"  the boy's attempt to stop the whispers only increases them. What does this irony say about the theme?

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The ironic statement you make in your post is the beginning of a statement of the theme of this story.  This is the story of a boy and his mother who are never satisfied with what they have and always want more.  It is a very real and plausible situation...

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The ironic statement you make in your post is the beginning of a statement of the theme of this story.  This is the story of a boy and his mother who are never satisfied with what they have and always want more.  It is a very real and plausible situation for humans to have desires that just can't be satisfied but conversely feed the continual drive for more of whatever is desired.  In this case, the family never thinks they have enough money.  The real problem is that they live beyond their means, and even once the boy wins the money at the races and gifts it to his mother, it is quickly and rather frivolously spent. The bigger problem then is the need to maintain the most recent lifestyle expenses -- in this case, a very expensive education for the children.  There is something very sad and pathetic about these characters and any people who cannot ever be satisfied. And it is that very reality that literally drives young Paul to death.  He is absolutely consumed with the need to "see" the winner of the race, win the big money, and ease the imagined whispers for more money and therefore earn his mother's love and attention.

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