In The Rocking-Horse Winner what would be the weaknesses, strengths, and traitsĀ of Paul and his mother?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mother is presented in this story as almost a fairy tale figure, yet with what will turn out to be a fatal flaw:

There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.

It is quickly established that her desperate want for money and greed drives a wedge between her and all her relations - she is not able to love her children, and feels "the centre of her heart go hard" when she thinks of her children. Despite her overt affection and love that she displays, she feels this is just an act and cannot hide the reality that she and her children face. It is her greed and rapacious desire for money that create the voices in the house that ceaselessly whisper "There must be more money! There must be more money!"

Paul, Hester's son, who relates "luck" with "money" based on a conversation with his mother. This confusion causes him to engage on a desperate, self-sacrificing voyage to discover "luck" (money), thereby taking on himself the mantle that should rightfully belong to his parents. One could argue that he does this as part of an attempt to gain the affection of his mother who is so distant from him - something that his initial wins are unable to achieve. She greets his gift of the money with nothing more than "a cold determined look [that] came on her mouth", driving her son to fevered distraction and eventually death to gain more "luck" for his mother.

Read the study guide:
The Rocking-Horse Winner

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question