Friday, November 28, 2014

L-3 The Rocking-horse Winner - XI English Elective - Woven Words

UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT

  1. What was the reason for young Paul’s restlessness at the beginning of the story? How did it find expression?

    ANSWER:
    Young Paul is restless at the beginning of the story because he was told by his mother that they were not lucky therefore don't have enough money to have a car and other luxuries of life. Besides young Paul had a feeling that deep down his mother was not as happy as she appeared to be. She blamed young Paul's father for not being lucky and making her unlucky as well because she was married to him. 
    This restlessness found an expression in the form of young Paul riding his rocking horse and mentally intensified thinking that he was lucky. While riding the horse young Paul appeared to posses some kind supernatural power and his eyes shone bright. 

  2. Why do you think Paul’s mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1,000 pounds for five years?

    ANSWER:
    Paul's mother was not satisfied with the yearly birthday gift of 1000 pounds for five years because she was an unsatisfied lot. She always had the feeling that she deserved a better treatment from life and this resulted in not showing any enthusiasm for the handsome birthday gift from Paul. Instead Paul started to hear more whispers from the house for more money.
  3. What was the reason for the anxiety of Paul’s mother as he grew older?

    ANSWER:
    The anxiety of Paul's mother grew as Paul grew older because now his tense behaviour, and too much indulgence in horse races and betting was taking a toll on his health. She was very concerned so she inquired to her house maid Miss Wilmot about him in the middle of the party. She also tried to send away Paul to a boarding school so that he could focus more on his studies and less on horse races. Little did she realise that the Paul is the victim of her own making. His efforts to prove himself lucky and bring more money in the house took him to the border of autism and finally he paid for his schizophrenic with his life.
  4. Paul’s final bet made the family rich but cost him his life. Explain. 

    ANSWER:
    Paul is a child who desperately seeks her mother's love and attention. He want to hear that unlike his father he is lucky. But the mother over burdened with the extra baggage of civility and modern lifestyle doesn't realise her child's intentions. Instead there was a feeling in the household that they need more money and even more money. Paul takes it upon himself to prove that he is lucky. He schizophrenically rides his rocking horse and imagines himself lucky. This he did frequently. Meanwhile he started betting on horse races with the help of Basset, their gardener. He bet only on the horses which he happened to know to be lucky during his frantic rocking horse ridings.
    As the events proceeded and he gifted his mother a handsome amount of 5000 pounds, the voices in the house for money grew louder. The pressure on him compelled to bet on races which he shouldn't have put his money in because he received no hint for the lucky horse from the rocking horse ridings. But he did bet and lost. This made him more morose. Before the Derby he was extremely schizophrenic to get a winner. He stopped eating and thought all the time about the race and winning. He spent much time on his rocking horse to get a clue. In the process he became autistic and seriously ill, but got his hint. He indicated Basset to bet on the horse Malabar and he won 80,000 pounds. But it all was a little too much for the young child and he died.
TALKING ABOUT THE TEXT
  1. 'Luck is necessary for success in life'.

    ANSWER:
    There are many who believe luck is important and one may find many such who believe in hard work. It is not though that those who believe in luck do not work hard. It is just that they believe in “do your best and God will do the rest However, there are those who completely blame their fate for everything and do not do anything to change or improve it. Still there are people that believe that hard work is greater than luck and that it has the power to change the destiny. One may find various beliefs around them and it depends on what they chose to believe in.
  2. Although Paul's mother liked to be rich she did not approve of betting on horses.

    ANSWER:
    Paul's mother foolishly wished to be rich and yet was not able to achieve or materialise her desire. She blamed it on her husband for being unlucky. However, she was one of those humans who do not tread as per their cloth. She was used to a lavish lifestyle and blamed her husband and misfortune for low income. Yet there was one thing appreciable about her that she was against gambling. She did remark in her conversation with her brother that she had seen her family members pursuing it and how it led to their fall. She advised her son to not indulge in it and made him promise that he will not think about racing horses any more.
  3. What were the voices that Paul heard? Did they lead him to success in the real sense?

    ANSWER:
    Although the house Paul and his family lived in was a pleasant one, the money they had was not enough to maintain the social position they had to keep up. The mother realised that father had no luck to make enough money so she decided to do something on her own. It was then that the house started whispering from every corner that “there must be more money The sounds started haunting the place and made Paul very uncomfortable and distressed and disturbed him. Though there were expensive gifts coming on Christmas, Paul could hear behind the shining rocking horse that “there must be more money It is plausible that Paul was schizophrenic and imagined the voices on being stressed due to their misery. As it is written in the text that no body said it aloud and there is no mention of anyone else hearing such voices, it is clear that Paul imagined his fears giving them voice. Paul's fear transferred into him through his mother constantly haunted him and became his driving force. The boy was oedipal and unknowingly wished to replace his father from his mother's life. So, the autistic boy drove his shinning horse ferociously until he “got there and would be sure of the horse that would win the next race. There were times when he was not sure, so he would be careful. The gardener Bassett was his partner throughout. Later even uncle Oscar joined as such was the conviction with which Paul used to declare the winning horse's name, and the horse used to win in actual. Call it clairvoyance or sheer luck, which he aspired to have to prove to be worthy of his mother's luck, Paul made money by betting on horses and finally left 80,000 pounds for his family by losing himself.

APPRECIATION

  1. Examine the communication channels in the story between
    a. Paul and his mother
    b. Paul and Bassett
    c. Paul and his uncle
    d. Basset and Paul's uncle
    e. Paul's mother and his uncle

    ANSWER:
    a. Paul and her mother shared the most intimate conversation through eyes. Though they were not actually love bound to each other as in the first paragraph, the author says that it was the children and the mother alone who knew that there was no love in their relation, they knew it because they read in each other's eyes.

    b. The friendship of Paul and Bassett or to say more clearly their partnership was an affectionate relation between them. Bassett knew and understood what the rest failed to even notice. He brought all the news of racing horses to Paul and then the clairvoyant Paul will decide in his trance who was to be the winner.

    c. Paul and uncle Oscar became partners soon after uncle discovers that Paul has an uncanny knowledge that makes him predict the winning horse. However, there is more to it, he realises that the whole betting thing was making Paul nervous and was hampering his health. However, Oscar Creswell asks Paul on how to win by betting, to which the child innocently replies that he just knows who is going to win once he “gets there".


    d. Bassett and uncle Creswell shared a bond since long back. However, as Bassett had promised to Paul he never told about his betting to uncle Oscar as well. But later he found himself explaining things to Creswell and the three of them became partners.


    e. It would be totally unfair to call Hester that harsh a lady for she did care about her children after all, however, she gave importance to materialistic gains. When she realised her sons obsession with the racing horses, she asked Bassett the gardener to keep Paul away from Oscar so it did not affect her son's health. She realised that the obsession was proving to be neurotic for her son and she wanted her son to be healthy and for that she risked her relation with her dear brother.
  2. How has the author linked the symbol of the rocking-horse to Paul's triumphs at the races?

    ANSWER:
    The rocking-horse is one of the three symbols present in the story that Lawrence has dealt with throughout the story. The horse is symbolic of the victory that Paul achieves at last. The materialistic gain and the importance of money over love. The whispering that haunts Paul that “there must be more money and the rocking-horse are interrelated. The want of money to achieve the love of mother that he never had, he goes on betting and earning more and more, thus, proving his luck. The boy when asked his mother for what is luck, she explained him that luck is what brings one money. The boy is disheartened to know that his father has no luck and so will not make money. He is sad at the implication that he will never have his mother's love who is all consumed by indebtedness. The boy, autistic as he is, with some clairvoyance rides his horse harder and ferociously till he “gets there It shows his desperation to physically win his mother's love by winning the race and thus earning more money, as “there must be more money Post the ride, Paul will stand facing the horse with his legs apart and he would look at the bent head of the horse and its shining eyes. These interpret just one thing, the determination, the wanting, the longing for money. It is about success, money, love and most importantly, winning. And Paul gets it all, he wins and gets her mother the money through his triumphs in races. And he even found her love as she grew too concerned about her son's obsession with the races that eventually killed him.
  3. The ending of the story is an instance of irony. Suppose Paul had not died at the end, how would you have reacted to the story?

    ANSWER:
    It is true that a tragedy digs a deeper mark than a happy ending. It causes an emotional catharsis in the audience. Had the story had a happy ending it would have been pleasant, however, the reader would not have felt the emotions and passion that drove Paul to his inevitable climax. Yet some may find it not justified to have killed the boy at the end of the story that went so well with Paul achieving what he wanted all the while, money and love both. He sacrificed his life to bring to his mother what his father couldn't and thus proved to be worthy of her affection, which hungered for. However, one can not have all the happiness in the world. They say that God is cruel when he gives us something, he gives it to us only with one had while taking away with the other our most cherished possession. So, it can not be said that the death of Paul was justified or other way round; however, it is ironical. Had he lived post the Derby win, who knows what shape the story might have taken. Maybe what happens happens for some good yet it would have brought the story to a happy ending had Paul lived.

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