Why did the whispering increase in the "The Rocking-Horse Winner"?

Asked on by harleyr99

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The voices that rang throughout the house in D. H. Lawrence's short story, "The Rocking-Horse Winner" always seemed to give the same, if unspoken, message: "There must be more money! There must be more money!" Paul's desire to help the family out financially drove him to ride his old rocking horse, and soon he was able to amass a small fortune, which he decided to parcel out to his mother. But when she decided she wanted the entire amount, Paul agreed to secretly advance her the money. But the whispering only became louder.

And yet the voices in the house, behind the sprays of mimosa and almond blossom, and from under the piles of iridescent cushions, simply trilled and screamed in a sort of ecstasy: "There must be more money Oh-h-h; there must be more money.  Oh, now, now-w !  Now-w-w --- there must be more money ! --- more than ever !   More than ever ! "

The more money Paul made, the more money his mother spent, and the essential bills and necessities of the house still grew. The whispers got louder and louder as more money was spent.

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hgarey71 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In D.H. Lawrence's short story "The Rocking Horse Winner," the voices symbolize the greed of his mother. When Paul enacts a plan intended to satisfy his mother's desire for more money in an effort to silence the whispers and make his mother happy, his plans fail. Instead of satisfying his mother's greed and desire for material things, the money he wins only serves to feed the growing monster of greed. Paul's father has similar flaws, having expensive tastes and very few prospects for making enough money, but Paul focuses his efforts on making his mother happy since her heart is cold toward her children and he is seeking to win her love. 

"There must be more money!"
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.
When Paul begins winning, he explains his motivation to his uncle: 
"I started it for mother. She said she had no luck, because father is unlucky, so I thought if I was lucky, it might stop whispering."
"What might stop whispering?"
"Our house. I hate our house for whispering."
"What does it whisper?"
"Why—why"—the boy fidgeted—"why, I don't know. But it's always short of money, you know, uncle."
"I know it, son, I know it."
"You know people send mother writs, don't you, uncle?"
"I'm afraid I do," said the uncle.
"And then the house whispers, like people laughing at you behind your back. It's awful, that is! I thought if I was lucky—"
As the debts in the household increase so does the whispering. Paul has a plan to give his mother five thousand pounds of his winnings, one thousand pounds at a time on her birthday. When this doesn't even cause a glimmer of excitement in her, he decides to give the whole amount at once. Of course, the tragic irony of this is that rather than stopping the whispers, the found money increases them. 
There were certain new furnishings, and Paul had a tutor. He was really going to Eton, his father's school, in the following autumn. There were flowers in the winter, and a blossoming of the luxury Paul's mother had been used to. And yet the voices in the house, behind the sprays of mimosa and almond-blossom, and from under the piles of iridescent cushions, simply trilled and screamed in a sort of ecstasy: "There must be more money! Oh-h-h; there must be more money. Oh, now, now-w! Now-w-w - there must be more money! - more than ever! More than ever!
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nezumi32's profile pic

nezumi32 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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The whispering increased because the more money the mother got he more money she realized was out there, so the more money the mother wanted.

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