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The Rocking Horse Winner: Summary

The main theme in the story The Rocking Horse Winner is greed. The mother and father both had very expensive tastes and their children basically resented them for it. There was never enough money and both parents had small incomes. The children were starting to grow up and would have to begin school soon. But all of the family’s money was being wasted on things that were not important. The family believed that their house had become haunted with the unspoken phrase, “There must be more money!” Everyone heard it, but never said or did anything about it. The parents continued to buy unnecessary things. At Christmas time, they heard the phrase when all of the children’s expensive toys filled the house. It was believed it was the toys that haunted the house, since the mother’s greed it what caused her to buy the toys in the first place.

A motif of the Rocking Horse Winner could be luck. The mother led her son to believe that they are an unlucky family. She believes this because they have no fortune and are basically poor. She believes that if you have money, you are lucky. She told her son the cause of their unluckiness is because of his father. Since he has a small income, he was unlucky, and since she married him, it made her unlucky as well. She also told Paul that it is better to be born lucky rather than rich because if you a rich you could lose all of your money, but if you are lucky you will continue to receive money.

The theme and motif seem to tie together to create the tragic outcome of this story. The mother’s greed and belief of unluckiness led to her own son’s death. Since she told her son about their luck, he began betting on race horses and winning a lot of money for her, which she still continued to blow on unnecessary things. Paul believed they were finally becoming a lucky family so he continued to bet. The pressure of trying to pick the right horse made him really stressed out and caused him to basically go crazy and have a heart attack, which led to his death.

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