In "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence, why does Paul's mother tell him that the family has finacial problems, "because your father has no luck?"

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

Paul's mother clearly explains the reason for her lack of money in a way that reveals her own bitterness and frustrated ambitions. She says the words to Paul with "bitterness" in her voice. Lawrence uses the word "luck" ironically, as there is a confusion with "lucre," which Paul picks up. Even after his mother corrects him, Paul still perhaps associates luck with money. There is no clear reason as to why Paul's mother explains her situation the way she does, but what is clear is the impact this has on Paul. He feels he has to possess the luck his mother and father lack in order to make his mother happy and gain her love. The impact of this is seen as he seeks to find that "luck":

He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it. When the two girls were playing dolls, in the nursery, he would sit on his big rocking horse, charging madly into space, with a frenzy that made the little girls peer at him uneasily. Wildly the horse careered, the waving dark hair of the boy tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in them.

Paul becomes obsessed with finding "luck" just as his mother has become obsessed with finding "more money." The way that the quote refers to the "strange glare" in Paul's eyes refers to the supernatural and extremely dangerous way Paul is prepared to find luck in order to gain his mother's affection. Paul's mother therefore describes her situation as a lack of luck through a desire to try and communicate the difficulties of her situation. She has no idea of the impact her words would have on Paul, and the terrible cost he will pay to gain luck.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question