The short story ” The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence is about a boy who obsessively rides a rocking horse in order to predict horse race winners so he can make money to appease his mother, and make her happy. Paul is a young boy, with two sisters, and a mother and father. He has the so called “picture perfect” life. In reality, behind the closed doors of his luxurious home there lives a materialistic mother and father who don’t really care for their children. Paul just wants to feel loved and have a sense of purpose within his family, yet his mother never gives him this. He tries everything in his limited youthful abilities to get her attention and make her proud by being “lucky”, as she thinks being lucky is the way to riches. He rides a rocking horse and in doing so is able to dream the winners of future horse races. This allows him to bet money on the races and ‘earn’ money for his family to make them happy. Unfortunately, by the end of the short story all he leaves behind is his dead body and his greedy family with all the money he won. Paul riding the rocking horse in a frenzy and not getting anywhere is a parallel to people needing more and more money and never getting ahead because as quickly as they earn it, they spend it. He represents the sacrifice that people make in order to gain material wealth at all costs. Paul is that cost in his family. Paul’s eyes are big and blue which are described multiple times throughout the story. This gives this character a dreamlike quality, and seems to allude to his intelligence. This is demonstrated in this quote which takes place during the time in which Paul and his uncle Oscar were making bets on the racing horses. “The boy gazed at his uncle from those big, hot, blue eyes, set rather close together.” (225). The intelligence and passion behind Paul’s eyes is represented in the following passage, “The child had never been to a race meeting before, and his eyes were blue fire”(226). Paul begins the story as an optimistic, dedicated, determined boy who has revealing dreams. By the end of the story his dreams have destroyed him, and he is an empty shell with no life in his eyes. Paul’s main goals throughout the story are to make money for his family to make his mother happy, so he can feel loved by her. He also thinks that if he makes enough money he can get rid of the voices in the house that are demanding more money. Paul is an innocent young boy who just wants to feel loved yet he suffers in the end for only trying to help his family. The mother-son relationship in this short story is a mess of unfulfilled hopes, dreams, desires, and anxiety between the two characters. Near the end of the story it shows how Paul’s character has changed which is clear in this quote “He neither slept nor regained consciousness, and his eyes were like blue stones” (234). The life and the fire had been drained from him. The writer leaves the reader wondering if Paul’s mother will feel regret and feel sadness at the loss of her son for the sake of the powerful lure of money.
The main thing that keeps me from realizing my true potential would be the fear of failure. I don’t have enough confidence in my abilities, and I therefor don’t try new things because I am worried that I won’t be successful at them. I can remember many times that I’ve sat back and not participated in an activity, or contributed to a discussion simply because I was afraid that I wouldn’t ‘measure up’. There’s no reason that I should feel that way because I haven’t had allot of occasions that resulted in failure, but the feeling just creeps up on me. I would think that my potential should be unlimited to an extent, because the times where I have put my heart into something, I have been successful.
In life, all I really want to do is be involved in the movie making industry, working behind the camera in editing. The only dilemma to this is I feel it is impossible for me to get there. Being an “average” student these days, and the idea that I can’t get into any universities, is engraved into my mind. I feel that there are far brighter students out there, so why would they choose me over someone else? But, in fact, I have as great a chance as others to get accepted places. I know that I’m just scared in all honesty I just really don’t want to receive a rejection letter. I’m sure if I put my heart to it that I can achieve great things. Also the practicality of things, it would be extremely difficult to get into a big name Hollywood production industry. I feel that it is not possible for me to achieve my goals, and follow my “Arnie”.
The reason why I will most likely ignore my dreams, and push them aside for a while, is because I feel they are unrealistic. I feel that everyone should always have a “retarded” part of them inside because without it where would we be in life. We would be all following the same structured life that we’re born into instead of following our dreams and hopes. If I could speak to my inner “Arnie” I would tell myself to keep trying to reach for my goals and desires in life and to not give up easily. I would tell myself to continue to dream, and to follow those dreams.
From a existential perspective, I am allowing my individuality to be created by my belief that I have to be responsible, and make responsible choices as determined by society. I am ruled by my fear of failure; the failure I might encounter if I follow my dreams, rather than choosing according to what is the responsible path in life.