Where's the irony in the last statment made to Hester by her brother in "The Rockin-Horse Winner"? "my god hester you're eighty-odd thousand to the good and a poor devil of a son to...

Where's the irony in the last statment made to Hester by her brother in "The Rockin-Horse Winner"?

"my god hester you're eighty-odd thousand to the good and a poor devil of a son to the bad. but, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking horseto find a winner"

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The irony of this statement is that Hester's brother thinks Hester will be better off for being eighty thousand pounds richer and that Paul is better off dead. In fact, neither Hester nor Paul benefit. As the story has illustrated from how she spends her smaller winnings, Hester will not be satisfied by eighty thousand pounds. No matter how much money she gets, she always wants more—and always finds new luxuries to squander the money on. More money will only whet her appetite for even more. Her problem is not lack of money, but a deep-rooted emptiness that she tries, to no avail, to fill with money. Her son's death, brought by trying to get her enough money and thus earn her love, is pointless as it won't solve her fundamental problem.

However, Paul's death, caused by trying to fulfill his mother's insatiable need, is tragic. He could have grown up, freed himself from a dysfunctional home, and possibly made a decent life for himself had he lived. It's hard to see any good in his death. Therefore, the uncle's statement is ironic, saying the opposite of what the story means to convey.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The irony of the statement is that the uncle implies Paul is better off dead. The uncle realized Paul was mad and believes that the boy has been released from his agony. This reinforces the theme of the story about the destructive power of materialism. His mother may now have a lot of money, but Paul is in a better place where he can ride his rocking horse forever and not have to worry about his mother's incessant need for money.

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The Rocking-Horse Winner

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