The Rocking-Horse Winner Questions and Answers
by D. H. Lawrence

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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Does Paul solve his mother's problem?

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Although Paul wins his mother 80,000 pounds betting on the derby, an extraordinary amount of money at that time, we can assume that this won't be enough for her, because her problem really isn't money. Money is what the mother uses to try to fill an empty space in her heart. We learn from the start of the story that she "could not love" her children and that she is disappointed in her husband, for whom her love "turned to dust." She is empty inside and this emptiness manifests itself in the need for more and more money that fills the house.

Lawrence is at pains to show that this need is emotional, rather than real. In reality, the family has enough money:

 They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants, and felt themselves superior to anyone in the neighbourhood. 

When Paul wins 5,000 pounds for his mother in a race, she spends it quickly. Rather than solve the sense of "grinding" shortage the family feels, the extra money makes everything worse than ever. The house "trilled and screamed" that "there must be more money ... now." The money simply whets his mother's appetite for more.

We can assume from this that even 80,000 pounds will not fill the inner emptiness his mother experiences, and in fact, will make it worse. 

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