In "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence, how can the children hear the whisper of the house?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

D.H. Lawrence chose to make the house whisper, as a symbol of the mother's ever-increasing need for money, and of her children's ever-increasing need for her love, which they feel they would have if they only had money.  The mother doesn't love her children; she acts like she does, but "Only she herself, and her children themselves, knew it was not so.  They read it in each other's eyes."  The mother tells Paul that luck means getting money, but that they aren't lucky at all.  From that point forward, Paul, in the hopes of gaining his mother's attention, seeks luck (or money):  "He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it."  Because of this intense focus on gaining money, both in the mother and in Paul, the house seems to whisper.  It's just an undercurrent that is always there:  "The whisper was everywhere, and therefore no one spoke it.  Just as no one ever says: 'We are breathing ! '   in spite of the fact that breath is coming and going all the time. " 

Children often can sense unhappiness, and frustration, and that is what the whisper is, essentially.  Paul is especially sensitive to it, and makes it his life pursuit to quiet the voices.  Unfortunately, when he makes more money, "The voices in the house..went mad".  Just like materialism or greed, they are never satisfied, and in the end, Paul sacrifices his life to them.

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The Rocking-Horse Winner

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