Why is the winning horse named "Malabar" in "The Rocking-Horse Winner"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first winning horse that Paul chose was named Daffodil. After earning quite a bit of money, Lawrence writes, "There were flowers in the winter and a blossoming of luxury Paul's mother had not been used to ...and yet behind the sprays of mimosa and almond blossom...[she screamed} "There must be more money! This "frightens Paul" and he begins riding the rocking horse more and more to try to discern the winner of the National Derby. Finally, Paul says the winner will be "Malabar" Malabar is a plant that can be used as a poison, part of the nightshade family. When one is poisoned by the malabar plant, its symptoms are very much Paul's symptoms, fever, and then madness, followed by death. The horse's name foreshadows Paul's demise.

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The Rocking-Horse Winner

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