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“The Rocking-Horse Winner” is an uncanny spin on the bargain with the devil literary motif that contains some interesting biblical allusions. The story opens with a woman named Hester, who shares many similarities with Esther of biblical fame. For example, Hester is described as “a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She marries an unlucky man and carries a guilty resentment for her children, which unravels into a fatal drama. By comparison, Esther assumes the position of Xerxes’ queen but is never able to enjoy it as she is thrust into her own drama of life and death. Each woman’s struggle reveals the flawed integrity of her character, and her desperate attempts to maintain airs. As the only person who can save the Jews in Persia, Esther refuses to face the king until her own life is threatened.

Hester’s secret resentment for her children drives her to display a superficial love for them. Hester is praised by others as being “such a good mother,” as Esther is lauded as the heroine of the Jews. In each case, appearances trump authenticity, belying inward corruption, and the inevitable decay that follows. Esther’s story resolves with her ruthless vengeance against Haman, and Hester’s story resolves with Paul’s deliverance in his deal with the devil. From very early in the story, we learn that Hester’s chief desire is to maintain her social position. …they always felt an anxiety in the house. There was never enough money… not nearly enough for the social position which they had to keep up.

Naturally, money is the means by which this artificial status is preserved, so Hester feels this compulsion towards this very material lifestyle, while neglecting her children genuine love. Hester’s lack of motherly love serves as the source of Paul’s chief desire, to win her attention and stop the “whispers in the house. There is a constant whisper in the house, “There must be more money. ” It is an uncanny manifestation of the mother’s pervasive material anxiety. It begins to madden Paul. Paul hopes that by fulfilling his mother’s desire for money that she will pay him more interest, but her desire for money can never be satisfied, as money is the medium for maintaining appearances of social class, and such appearances never grant satisfaction. The whispers grow more urgent as we learn that the mother is in debt.

Paul believes that if he is lucky and wins the money on his mother’s behalf that the “whispers” in the house will stop, meaning that the problems with money will go away and his mother will have some interest in him. So Paul enters into a deal with the devil by riding his rocking horse. He “gets there,” achieving a state of demonic clairvoyance by madly riding his rocking horse. No one can communicate with him while he is on the horse and he seems to be gone to the world.

So the devil enters his body, takes a bit of his soul, and gives him the name of the winning horse in return. “Bonnie” Paul becomes sick, losing his health from his deal with the devil while his mother’s heart turns to stone. Paul decays from this healthy child full of life, and the mother is left with 80,000 pounds and a rocking horse, as her heart turns to stone. In each instance, this craving for the material converts something with life, Paul or Hester’s heart, into something inanimate, the rocking horse and the mother’s heart of stone.

Help with 3 discussion question

1. Please respond to the following:
In many risk programs, risks are managed individually. A robust risk program, however, considers the cumulative effect of all risks. Assess the following scenario and identify the effect of multiple events on a risk management strategy:
When the Titanic struck the iceberg, the weather was bad, the lookouts were not properly equipped, the radio operator was not monitoring other ship traffic in the area, and the ship design had a major flaw in the construction of the hull’s “watertight” compartments.
2. Please respond to the following:
Compare and contrast the differences in the ATOM methodology for large versus small projects. Analyze the key reasons why it is important to address these differences when preparing the initial project plan
3. Please respond to the following:
Debate whether the cost of utilizing ATOM for large projects is justified when an organization has limited resources to dedicate to risk management efforts. Provide a description that you would present to your managers to persuade them to see matters your way.

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