People have a tendency of craving attention. Not so much in a selfish way, but simply seeking validation one could say. It is human nature to want someone to acknowledge your existence and cherish it in a way where you feel secure in such relationship. However, when you don’t have that or that sense of feeling wanted isn’t there, that could greatly affect your mental health negatively. You see this develop throughout both novels and you begin to ponder about how simply acknowledgement and or appreciation of someone could easily affect another’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Both The Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H Lawrence and Sonny’s Blues written by James Baldwin share an overlying sense of simply striving to be good enough.
The Rocking Horse Winner tells the story of a woman named Hester who dreams of living this luxurious lifestyle in which she cannot afford. One day, her son Paul asks her what makes people lucky and she tells him that people with luck are the ones who make lots of money. She proceeds to add that she is very unlucky herself in which deep down angered Paul. This made him determined to prove to his mother that he himself was actually indeed very lucky. Paul receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon discovers that when he rides it long enough, he is somehow able to "know" what the winning racehorse will be. Therefore, he begins to place bets on the derby horses and soon enough, he’s making tens of thousands of pounds. Paul arranges to have a lawyer send his mother five thousand pounds at a time every year on her birthday with the money he's won, which she selfishly and promptly spent on all kinds of luxuries. Meanwhile, still unaware of her son's gambling habit, Hester grows concerned about Paul's health. “He hardly heard what was spoken to him, he was very frail and his eyes were really uncanny”. He had become addicted to gambling in order to satisfy his mother. Paul collapses with a brain fever, but not before he utters the name of the Derby Stakes winner.
Hester is dissatisfied with motherhood and feels that she needs more money in order to maintain a more luxurious standard of living. Paul believes that if he rocks hard enough, his mother will love him. After we witness Paul's sickness and death, we patiently wait for Hester to finally express some grief and or motherly emotion. We want Hester to give Paul what he so desperately craved in life: her motherly love. The desire for wealth tainted Paul's relationship with his mother all his life, and this same desire lead to his untimely death. At its core, The Rocking-Horse Winner is basically a story about the psychological trauma inflicted by the lack of wealth. Money becomes the quantitative value for everything in their lives. Everything from self-worth to love is measured by money in this family, and the resulting emotional impoverishment has devastating effects on the children.
Sonny’s Blues tells the story of an unnamed narrator who reads i...