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Paul’s Case ; the Rocking Horse Winner

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    After reading “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather and “The Rocking Horse Winner by D. H Lawrence the reader can realize these stories are warnings against materialism and the longing to have it all. Two different characters both by the name of Paul face a difficult situation, the desire to acquire more money. A substantial number of outside forces of both characters lead them to believe they need more than they already have. While feeling alienated the boys do harmful things to their body in order to feel accepted.

    Finally, because of the lack of money both Paul’s demoralize their character by lowering their values in seeking out the desired money. With substantial outside forces of both characters, they begin to believe they need more then what they already have. As for both Paul’s neither are homeless, nor have fear about when they will have their next meal however, the reference of outside forces must be understood. When speaking of outside forces in both stories it is referred to something that is out side of the hands of both boys.

    From the story “The Rocking Horse Winner” the term is referring to the house he lives in and gift of being lucky. As for the story “Paul’s Case” the outside force is the fact that he was born into a middle class family and not that of power and money. Paul from the “Rocking Horse Winner” feels pressured to quiet the voices that are heard through out his house. The house constantly whispers, “There must be more money, there must be more money! ” (805. ) In order to hush the whispers he becomes obsessed with winning money.

    By providing more money the boy believes the house will be satisfied and stop the bothersome whispering. Once he sees his mother spending money on more things, he hears the whispers become louder “…Oh-h-h; There must be more more money. Oh now, now-w! Now-w-w- There must be more money”(812. ) Paul is astonished at the results of bringing in more money; he begins to feel pressured again to earn more. Once again, he attempts to seek out a higher winning, more then what he already earned, which ends up being a Derby Championship.

    While understanding from his mother that money is everything he becomes intrigued by the word “luck. ” During the beginning of the story Paul’s mother explains her interpretation of what luck is “It’s what causes you to have money. If you’re lucky you have money. That’s why it is better to be born lucky than rich; you may lose your money. But if you are lucky, you will always get more. ”(805) With his mother’s understanding of “luck” Paul then believe that he too, is lucky, not like his father. With the false interpretation he allows himself to fall deep into the obsession of gambling.

    His mother made it clear to him that she was very upset that by marring his father, she became unlucky “I used to think I was before I married. Now I think I am very unlucky indeed” (806) Paul wanted more then ever after this to prove his mom wrong and show her he was lucky, in hope of one day truly feeling accepted and loved by her. With different emotions tangled up inside Paul from the word “luck“, he feels he needs more then what he already has. While being surrounded in two different environments the separate Paul’s begin to feel alienated and isolated in their own distinct ways.

    These emotions consume these boys and lead them to do harmful things to themselves. The division in age does not stop the crippling effect placed on each boy from their actions. Paul from “The Rocking Horse Winner” was given a rocking horse for Christmas. After becoming uncommonly attached to his horse, he develops an odd intuitive ability that allows him to correctly predict the winner of Horse races. With the house constantly whispering to him, Paul feels that he and only he can quite the whispers.

    With his correct predictions of the winning horse he feels he can earn true love from his mother due to his luck, Paul troubles himself to continue making money. While being in the comforts of his own house the whispers grow louder and with more rage “there must be more money! – more than ever! More than ever! “(812. ) With the Derby right around the corner Paul feels his next big chance of earnings would be during that time. Isolating himself from the actual horse races and in the confides of his own room, two nights before the Derby Paul restlessly rides his horse.

    He waits until after his mother has parted from the house and after dark, fiercely rides his horse. Upon his mother’s arrival to check on Paul she hears a familiar noise “Yet she couldn’t place it. She couldn’t say what it was. And on and on it went like a madness” (814. ) Once she opens Paul’s door he falls to the ground. Paul correctly predict the winning horse, but due to over exhaustion from the ridding the horse, he dies. Had Paul not felt the alienations of being singled out in his family as the one who could hush the whispers he would have not put so much energy into his ridding horse, ultimately saving himself from destruction.

    Paul in “Paul’s Case” was older than Paul from “The Rocking Horse Winner” and in retrospect understands financially how the world operated. With the understanding of how money worked, Paul however, lived in a world in which he believes he was suppose to be born rich but by blunder was born poor. Paul became envious of those he surrounds himself with, while working at Carnegie Hall he was constantly around men of power and money. He saw what both money and power brought man, in realizing he was never going to live a life of those men, Paul conceived a scheme that would take him out of his dreary life.

    In his plans to leave his life behind he stole from his job, “From the time he slipped the bank notes into his pocket until he boarded the night train for New York, he has not know a moment’s hesitation”(239) He went through his stolen money within a week and upon hearing that his father was in search for him, in New York, “Stopping at some joint or another” (241. ) Paul feared his ultimate punishment, returning home, to the middle class society. Thinking about returning home he knew exactly what he needed to do “The sound of the approaching train awoke him and he started to his feet. When the right moment came, he jumped”(242. ) Paul, in conclusion commits suicide, for the simple fact that he is knows what it finally feels like to have money and live the lavish life. Returning home would be going back into a dreary nightmare, a life of shame and belittlement, something he feels he does not deserve. Both Pauls’ in each story take on money at a young age, in doing this they compromise their morals, traditional values and character. With money as the single aspiration of each boy they go beyond their normal boundaries and break rules that are usually not challenged by those at their age.

    Paul from “The Rocking Horse Winner” is triggered to believe by bringing more money to his mother, the whispers through out the house will be silenced. He realizes that through gambling with his uncle he can generally guess the winning horse and win money. Gambling is a highly addictive game in which a child of such youth should not stress about like Paul did, after all his mother did warn him about the addiction that consumed the family “It’s a bad sign. My family has been a gambling family, and you won’t know till you grow up how much damage it has done”(812. With his plea to his uncle to not tell his mother he begins his lies too, he states, “She’d stop me”(810. ) With the uncle’s agreement it is kept a secret.

    As for Paul in “Paul’s Case” the course his life took because of his extreme desire for money was way beyond that of the younger Paul in “The Rocking Horse Winner. ” To start off with, Paul absolutely belittled his family and everything about his home life, “his ugly sleeping chambers; the cold bathroom with the grimy zinc tub, the cracked mirror, the dripping spigots; his father, at the top of the stairs, his hairy legs sticking out from his night shirt” (23. He felt superior to them and used such terms as “Absolutely unequal”(233. ) In this story Paul became a fabricator, he told lie after lie about his life outside school. While working at Carnegie Hall, Paul’s self image grew, along with his lies. To make his self feel superior to his instructor he rambles about his connections “that he was helping the people at the stock company; they were friends of his”(236. ) In saying he knew powerful people, he was consequently fired and banned from his job.

    His final and most unethical doing was stealing money from the firm of Denny & Carson. While hitting his breaking point and stealing the money he fled off to New York to enjoy a lavish life. With all the chaos going on he was so deep in self destruction, so into his new life that he had the oddly felt, “so at peace with him-self”(240. ) Time after time, Paul did wrong by means of acquiring money and desiring a wealthy life. The story stories “Paul’s Case” and “The Rocking Horse Winner” are warnings against material objects such as money, and the desire to have it all.

    With various examples the reader can see money can be a dangerous object to play around with. In the “The Rocking Horse Winner” it brought about the addiction of gambling and lies to a young boy. In the story “Paul’s Case” it brought out thievery, lies and vanity. In both cases, with the sole objective more money, both boys felt they needed more. With the example given in the stories, both boys did harmful things to themselves in order to feel accepted. Finally, the over all character of these boys were tampered with because they chose to set money as their priority.

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