What are the salient events from the plot which may lead the reader to discern a particular theme for the story?using language of literature to express parts of the story, and treating characters...

What are the salient events from the plot which may lead the reader to discern a particular theme for the story?

using language of literature to express parts of the story, and treating characters using terms such a dynamic, round, static and flat.

I'm really stuck on how to start and  what to write. Thanks for your help.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

wendypalma20,

First start with some simplified definitions.

Round--a character with many facets and traits evenly proportioned.

Flat--a caharcater with one dominant trait. (As opposed to a stock character that has only one trait, e.g. evil stepsister, handsome prince.

Dynamic--a character that grows, changes and develops. (Either positively or negatively.)

Static--a character that does not change throughout the story.

D. H. Lawrence blends reality and fantasy  in his popular short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” All the characters in the story harbor secrets. The mother’s secret is that “at the center of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody” (paragraph 1). Paul’s secret is that, by furiously riding his wooden rocking-horse, he is often able to predict which horses will win races. Bassett’s secret, and Uncle Oscar’s, is that they profit from Paul’s predictions, even while the boy is on his deathbed. Their winnings are kept secret. Paul gives his mother 5,000 pounds, but does it anonymously. The house itself whispers a secret, “There must be more money” (5, 6, 181). The three children hear the whisper, but no one talks about it.

The desire for money motivates everyone in the story. Perhaps the most blatant evidence of the family’s obsession with riches appears in Uncle Oscar’s attempt to console his sister after her son’s death: “My God, Hester, you’re eighty-odd thousand to the good and a poor devil of a son to the bad” (244)—as if he were enumerating her assets and liabilities on an imaginary balance sheet. Paul’s frenzied pursuit of money differs from the greed of the others in that he wants wealth not for himself but for his mother. Clearly he hopes that, by being “luckier” than his father, he will win his mother’s love and attention.

Paul, intent upon stopping the whispers in the house, anonymously gives his mother 5,000 pounds as a birthday present. Ironically, his gift has the opposite effect. The whispers grow louder. Given his mother’s insatiable greed for money, this result comes as less of a surprise to the reader than to Paul.

There is also irony in the story’s title. Paul, the rocking-horse winner, loses his life. Ironic, too, are Paul’s final words: “I am lucky” (241). In his mother’s definition of luck, in paragraph 18 (“It’s what causes you to have money”), Paul is lucky, of course—or was.

Think about the characters and decide who changes and who doesn't, and who has more than one characteristic or trait. 

The theme of the story can be summarized as: The love of money is destructive of all other love, and even of life itself.

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