Lawrences The Rocking Horse Winner and Mansfields Miss Brill depict the theme of materialism. This essay compares these two stories by exploring the symbols they used to describe materialism. They employ symbols which argue that the the pursuit of and ends of materialism…
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The family in The Rocking Horse Winner also preserves their lifestyle, even when they cannot afford it: “There was always the grinding sense of the shortage of money, though the style was always kept up” (Lawrence).
These stories share symbols of superficial opulence that foreshadowed their miserable endings. Miss Brill uses the fur, while The Rocking Horse Winner has the rocking horse. The rocking horse contains Pauls “secret of secrets” (Lawrence). Paul employs the horse to find luck and money, so that the whisperings in his house about having “more money” will cease. He dies as he pursues luck, which indicates that going after money as an end in itself is meaningless. In Miss Brill, fur is a dead animals skin and stands for Miss Brills life, which is equally lifeless and depends only on the life of people using it. Miss Brill also relies on using others peoples lives to fill up her empty life. She remains dead, however, being alone and poor.
The Rocking Horse Winner and Miss Brill employ symbols to depict that materialism is a horrible human goal, which can only result to misery and death. Money cannot buy love or happiness. It cannot ensure loving human relationships. Paul dies believing that money is everything, while Miss Brill lives on crying inside her glassed life of delusions. They suffered tragic endings, because of their materialistic endeavors in life, and leaves behind the moral: The more people treat materiality as everything, the more that materialism actually takes their
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