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The title, "The Rocking-Horse Winner," foreshadows what the boy becomes, but is also ironic. The boy wins much money, but of course loses his life in the end trying to win more.
The voice in the house foreshadows what the boy has to go through in order to satisfy it, and its relentlessness foreshadows the tragic conclusion.
Finally, his mother's greedy desire for money and failure to be satisfied foreshadows in the same way the voice does. The boy is driven beyond his limits to satisfy that which cannot be satisfied.
Lawrence effectively uses foreshadowing in the story to highlight point of view. While the narrator is nominally omniscient, Lawrence never spells out the exact circumstances of Paul’s family’s finances. Instead, we understand things the way a child would, through a vague sense of trouble, or the mother’s distance, all represented for Paul in the terrible whispering of the house. When Paul hears the house say “There must be more money!” he is intuitively understanding the pervasive lack of money and love in the family; this demand for money determines Paul on his course of action. He must become lucky, to counterbalance his mother’s lack of luck, and to silence the house.
The title foreshadows the end, in that Paul’s rocking-horse is a “winner” in the sense that through riding the horse Paul comes to “know” the name of the winning horse; it’s also ironic in that the rocking-horse can’t be a winner in the conventional sense (it isn’t real) and because the “winning” ultimately causes the end of Paul’s lucky streak (his death).
Similarly, his furious riding of the rocking-horse, and his sudden announcement that “I finally got there!” foreshadows his final ride and forces us to ask what place this mysterious destination is. This becomes clear in the conversation Paul has with his mother, when she tells him that he is from an unlucky family, and that luck is “what causes you to have money.” In fact, his mother from the very beginning of the story is singled out for her lack of luck, her inability to love her children, and so forth. Paul is“beating a dead horse,” trying to reach the place where he is “sure” of the winner, but also sure of his own luckiness and of his mother’s love. Of course, what he finds there is only the means to fuel his family’s abiding greed, and his own death—at the end of the story, he barters his life for another win at the track. We have to expect that even Paul’s eighty thousand pounds will not be enough to make his family truly lucky.
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