In "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence, When Paul is dying, why does his mother feel that "her heart had gone, turned actually into a stone"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Lawrence originally wrote this story about a friend of his and her obsession with money and greed. One wonders whether she remained his friend after reading this story. The reason why Paul's mother feels her heart had "turned actually into a stone" is that it is only at the end of the story that she begins to understand what her greed has done to her family, and in particular to her son, Paul. The ceaseless voicess that echo around the house are shown to be a direct result of her greed and restless desire for money, and this has communicated itself to Paul so strongly that he gradually gives himself up to acquire what he feels he has to gain in order to gain his mother's love. This is highlighted by the final comments of Hester's brother, Uncle Oscar, who says at the end of the story:

My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner.

Oscar indirectly suggests therefore that if Paul had to go to such extreme lengths to gain his mother's affection, he is probably better off dead. Hester, by the end of the story, has ironically got exactly what she wanted, but it is only at the end that she realises the cost she has paid for it. This explains why she feels her heart has now vanished.

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