drawing of a young boy riding a rocking-horse

The Rocking-Horse Winner

by D. H. Lawrence
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What is the thesis in this quote from "The Rocking-Horse Winner"?

Yet nobody ever said it aloud. 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.

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The thesis of these lines from “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is that the most important things in life are often not explicitly stated. The “whisper” referred to is the sentence “There must be more money!” that dominates the family featured in D. H. Lawrence’s story. For this family, money is as essential as oxygen. The paradox is that because it is so crucial, the family members rarely speak out loud about money.

The quoted lines, which come near the beginning, directly follow several paragraphs in which the narrator establishes the parents’ feeling that they need more money. The mother, in particular, does not distinguish between what she wants and what the family needs. The sensation is so strong and pervasive that the house itself becomes “haunted” by the feeling. The whispers come from the material objects that are lavished on the children, such as fancy toys like the rocking horse, and these toys are presented as capable of hearing the phrase as well.

This elaborate description establishes that the children also come to believe in this necessity, and this belief leads to Paul’s desperate attempts to win money.

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