April 24, 2000
Who Is the Winner?
The concept of ：decentering； that developed by Althusser broadened the original definition of Marxists・ ideas, and allowed readers more room to observe different causes and levels within a text. To take a revised Marxist・s look on D.H. Lawrence・s The Riding Horse Winner, I find that although Paul looks like a sacrifice under the ideology of Capitalism, he still shows the glory of humanity, and the pursuit of helping and loving. Besides the material world, this short story actually points out a few more values that human beings hold and cherish as the ultimate treasure that we could share heartily.
I think there are two opposite perspectives to interpret the story itself. One is that D.H. Lawrence criticized about the nature of Capitalism, which dehumanized people・s values and trapped people in a more limited and alienate relation of production. The other is that he used a little boy・s view to describe the pressure and helplessness in the society, so we could see a pure simple thought of the world in this way. It reminds us the crude emotion and affection that we all once have, at least, and encourage us to re-value what we have in hands from a humane aspect.
During the time of Capitalism・s growing, the only thing counted was money in this story. Also, everyone seemed to be only an object working as a part of machine in the mode of production sympathetically. ：There must be more money!； This family was always lack of money, because their salary never caught up with the speed that money grew in the reality to equally fit the social position that they wanted to establish in the public. The ISA drove people crazily and unconsciously looking for money. Even children recognized that money was the guarantee of happiness, and that was why Master Paul wanted to win some money for his mother. I think that the voice whispering in the house all the time comes from Paul parent・s hearts as a symbolic calling out for their inside longing. Furthermore, luck became the means to get money, according to his mother, so Paul really wanted to find his luck or to prove that he was lucky in order to please his mother. However, I think that Paul・s innocent intension toward making money doesn・t belong to this kind of ideology completely. His purpose is more like to help his mother being happier and live better for he doesn・t do it for himself at all. The only benefit he would really care to get is the happiness from his mother・s happiness, and it was what he valued much.
Other things that he valued were ：honour； and ：God.； We can hear Paul saying, ：Honour bright?； and ：God told me； through out the story. It is very interesting that D.H. Lawrence put these two elements here in this story to show out those things doing nothing with money at all. Honour is the trust, promises and commitments between people. Honour makes no money, and it worthies nothing, either. In the Capitalism society, it even could be the last thing that people pursue, but this boy wants to keep all his words as his honour, his character. As we see in the story, his uncle laughed at him at first; however, he also came to take his nephew・s words serious gradually. Needless to speak of God, generally Capitalists believe that money means much more than the invisible God, and is actually more useful. In spite of it, characters here are religious, especially Paul. He seems to have certain belief and respect toward God, and he simply believes in it. So he could amazingly know which horse is the winner within this pure relation. God also represents another level of authority that has power to inspire people instead of materials; it fills it the emptiness of human hearts spiritually in a way.
Moreover, while I was searching for the clue of the real survivor in the story, I looked for the thing that could really move people at last. Then I found out that Paul・s mother・s mental status offered an example of it. In the beginning, she felt that there is a part in her heart that goes hard feels no love. Because her heart was only occupied by money, therefore, it was always a hole there that kept empty no matter how rich she became. On the contrary, by the end of the story, we can see that ：tormented motherhood flooding upon her,； for there was love. It makes the difference; love could move what money can・t do. Through out the sad tragedy and a young boy・s death, we finally learn that there is still something could never be oppressed in whatever class, or under whatever ideology.
Hence, I think that this story still shows a bright view of this world and human beings. Perhaps it is just another privilege of its relative autonomy to state such ideas. But, I do believe that each one could be his or her own winner only if they dare to step out from the hegemony, and furthermore, to cherish the things they do value from hearts. If there is always power to fight for a better world in Marxists・ belief, we shall never worry that there is no space to go forward and improve. No authority can completely control all over men and women in society, since courage and imaginary have no end. Winners we will be then.