In what way is the boy’s furious riding in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" an appropriate symbol for materialistic pursuits?

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Symbolically, the boys' furious riding represents the vain, endless desire for more money and material possessions that some people pursue. When Paul is riding his rocking horse, he is completely focused and has an intense gaze as he rocks faster and faster. Similar to how Paul rides his rocking horse, greedy individuals pursue more and more wealth. Driven by avarice, people turn into callous, immoral individuals in their pursuit to become rich. Paul's thoughts are consumed by the thought of riding the rocking horse in order to stimulate his foresight so that he can win his bets. At the end of the story, Paul ends up winning eighty-thousand pounds but dies of exhaustion from riding his rocking horse. His efforts to become wealthy were in vain. Many individuals waste their lives in an endless pursuit of material wealth and consequently live unfilled, meaningless lives. The rocking horse is also a clever use of symbolism in that it never moves from Paul's home. It simply rocks back and forth, never traveling or taking Paul anywhere. Comparably, people who continually pursue money get nowhere because their desires are endless.

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malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The boy's riding is very symbolic of some people's pursuit of material wealth.  He is not riding the horse to enjoy it - that would be a leisurely fun ride that we see children do all of the time on rocking horses.  His riding is break-neck and furious, completely out of control, just like the pursuit of more, more, more is for some people.  And the house knows it - the house eggs Paul on to get more and more money, even after he's able to help his mother pay off their family's debts, until finally, Paul dies from the sheer exhaustion of riding the horse to find out just one more winner.

People waste their lives and kill themselves, working to get more and more and more, and this beautiful, sad story demonstrates that perfectly.

Check the link below for more information!  Good luck!

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