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The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics)

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The Rocking-Horse Winner" is a short story by D. H. Lawrence. The story describes a young middle-class Englishwoman who "had no luck." Though outwardly successful, she is haunted by a sense of failure; her husband is a ne'er-do-well and her work as a commercial artist doesn't earn as much as she'd like. The family's lifestyle exceeds its income and unspoken anxiety about The Rocking-Horse Winner" is a short story by D. H. Lawrence. The story describes a young middle-class Englishwoman who "had no luck." Though outwardly successful, she is haunted by a sense of failure; her husband is a ne'er-do-well and her work as a commercial artist doesn't earn as much as she'd like. The family's lifestyle exceeds its income and unspoken anxiety about money permeates the household. Her children, a son Paul and his two sisters, sense this anxiety; moreover, the kids even claim they can hear the house whispering "There must be more money." Paul tells his Uncle Oscar Cresswell about betting on horse races with Bassett, the gardener. He's been placing bets using his pocket money and has won and saved three hundred twenty pounds. Sometimes he says he is "sure" of a winner for an upcoming race, and the horses he names do in fact win, sometimes at remarkable odds. Uncle Oscar and Bassett both place large bets on the horses Paul names. After further winning, Paul and Oscar arrange to give the mother a gift of five thousand pounds, but the gift only lets her spend more. Disappointed, Paul tries harder than ever to be "lucky." As the Derby approaches, Paul is determined to learn the winner. Concerned about his health, his mother rushes home from a party and discovers his secret. He has been spending hours riding his rocking horse, sometimes all night long, until he "gets there," into a clairvoyant state where he can be sure of the winner's name. Paul remains ill through the day of the Derby. Informed by Cresswell, Bassett has placed Paul's bet on Malabar, at fourteen to one. When he is informed by Bassett that he now has 80,000 pounds, Paul says to his mother: "I never told you, mother, that if I can ride my horse, and get there, then I'm absolutely sure - oh absolutely! Mother, did I ever tell you? I am lucky!" "No, you never did," said his mother. The boy dies in the night and his mother hears her brother say, "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking horse to find a winner.


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The Rocking-Horse Winner" is a short story by D. H. Lawrence. The story describes a young middle-class Englishwoman who "had no luck." Though outwardly successful, she is haunted by a sense of failure; her husband is a ne'er-do-well and her work as a commercial artist doesn't earn as much as she'd like. The family's lifestyle exceeds its income and unspoken anxiety about The Rocking-Horse Winner" is a short story by D. H. Lawrence. The story describes a young middle-class Englishwoman who "had no luck." Though outwardly successful, she is haunted by a sense of failure; her husband is a ne'er-do-well and her work as a commercial artist doesn't earn as much as she'd like. The family's lifestyle exceeds its income and unspoken anxiety about money permeates the household. Her children, a son Paul and his two sisters, sense this anxiety; moreover, the kids even claim they can hear the house whispering "There must be more money." Paul tells his Uncle Oscar Cresswell about betting on horse races with Bassett, the gardener. He's been placing bets using his pocket money and has won and saved three hundred twenty pounds. Sometimes he says he is "sure" of a winner for an upcoming race, and the horses he names do in fact win, sometimes at remarkable odds. Uncle Oscar and Bassett both place large bets on the horses Paul names. After further winning, Paul and Oscar arrange to give the mother a gift of five thousand pounds, but the gift only lets her spend more. Disappointed, Paul tries harder than ever to be "lucky." As the Derby approaches, Paul is determined to learn the winner. Concerned about his health, his mother rushes home from a party and discovers his secret. He has been spending hours riding his rocking horse, sometimes all night long, until he "gets there," into a clairvoyant state where he can be sure of the winner's name. Paul remains ill through the day of the Derby. Informed by Cresswell, Bassett has placed Paul's bet on Malabar, at fourteen to one. When he is informed by Bassett that he now has 80,000 pounds, Paul says to his mother: "I never told you, mother, that if I can ride my horse, and get there, then I'm absolutely sure - oh absolutely! Mother, did I ever tell you? I am lucky!" "No, you never did," said his mother. The boy dies in the night and his mother hears her brother say, "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking horse to find a winner.

30 review for The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    The opening words sound like a fairy story “There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.” But it is immediately clear that this is more Grimm than Disney: “She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.” It was intended to be a ghost story, but there are no ghosts - just supernatural voices and premonitions, and the metaphorical ghost of an The opening words sound like a fairy story “There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.” But it is immediately clear that this is more Grimm than Disney: “She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.” It was intended to be a ghost story, but there are no ghosts - just supernatural voices and premonitions, and the metaphorical ghost of an off-stage, useless father: “Though he had good prospects, those prospects never materialised.” It is as haunting as any ghost story because of the combined effects of lack of love and whispering walls on the boy, Paul: “The house became haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must be more money!’” The heart of the story is luck, money, and the absence of both. The heart of Paul longs for love from the empty heart of his mother. Luck Paul asks why they don’t have a car. His mother says it’s because they’re poor (this is relative - they have a large house and several servants, but live beyond their means). When he asks why, she says, “slowly and bitterly, ‘it’s because your father has no luck.’” She fails to mention her own compulsive spending. “Is luck money, mother?” “No, Paul! Not quite. It’s what causes you to have money… That’s why it’s better to be born lucky than rich.” So does dying rich mean dying lucky (or just that you have a bad accountant?!)? Tragedy or triumph? Make Your Own? The idea of making your own luck is a cliché. But if you “make” it, surely it’s skill, effort, and persistence, rather than luck? Rationalists like me can’t manufacture luck and can’t hope for Paul’s paranormal solution. That leaves us with a delicate balancing act: to accept and enjoy what we have right now, even as we reach out and up, striving for more and better lives, more and better selves. Ad Astra As a child, I named my own rocking horse Pegasus because I knew he had wings. Their invisibility was part - confirmation, even - of their magic. Like Paul, my riding was sometimes frantic, mesmeric, dangerous. Pegasus flew me to many and wondrous places. I won no money, but I lived to tell the tales and to see my own, loved, child ride Pegasus as I had done. I saw my own Winner’s Enclosure. Read as part of Selected Short Stories. Image source for word “Lucky” with horseshoe U: https://previews.123rf.com/images/vip...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helga

    This is a tragic story about how humans are never satisfied with what they have and enough is never enough for them. The story is so strong and real, it makes you take a good look at the things you value in your life and ask yourself are they worth the sacrifices you make to gain them. You can read the short story here: http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    A haunting story that sent a shudder through me at the end. This would have made a perfect episode of the old TV series "The Twilight Zone". Nevertheless, it was a first class fun read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    I must have been around 15 when I read this story and I remember it blowing my mind. I have not read it since, and while knowing practically nothing about psychology then, even though as an adult I went into social work, it is a great story with some psy elements and a certain 'creepiness ' about it. Time to re-discover it after over 40 years. A++++++++

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    D.H. Lawrence's 1926 classic short story, The Rocking Horse Winner pulls at your heartstrings from the get-go and refuses to let go until its tragic culmination. As seen below, the opening paragraph does more than make for an emotional first impression, Lawrence's impressive and somehow beautiful prose sucks you in immediately, making it impossible to put down. "There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love D.H. Lawrence's 1926 classic short story, The Rocking Horse Winner pulls at your heartstrings from the get-go and refuses to let go until its tragic culmination. As seen below, the opening paragraph does more than make for an emotional first impression, Lawrence's impressive and somehow beautiful prose sucks you in immediately, making it impossible to put down. "There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them. They looked at her coldly, as if they were finding fault with her. And hurriedly she felt she must cover up some fault in herself. Yet what it was that she must cover up she never knew. Nevertheless, when her children were present, she always felt the centre of her heart go hard. This troubled her, and in her manner she was all the more gentle and anxious for her children, as if she loved them very much. Only she herself knew that at the centre of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody. Everybody else said of her: "She is such a good mother. She adores her children." Only she herself, and her children themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each other's eyes." From there, it only gets better. The dialogue is spot-on, relevant, and lifelike. The pictures that Lawrence delivers to the reader is incredibly vivid, increasingly compelling (I couldn't finish it fast enough, really,) and though there are little details like the protagonist's "uncanny blue eyes" that are emphasized for whatever reason, every word serves a purpose. It never felt verbose or unnecessary. On the contrary, literally every word is essential. I have no more to say, other than read it for yourself if you haven't. Even if you have (this was a re-read for me,) give it another go, it's totally worth it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    I 'read' this on audio. I'm getting used to the medium and can see that the acting ability of the narrator is what makes all the difference. More difference that the actual text written by the author. This narrator, a woman, chose to give the little boy a thin, reedy voice, almost laughable, but written, I could see that this had considerably greater depth. No matter what I read and hear, I have to say that still to me listening to an audio book is entirely synonymous to listening to a radio play I 'read' this on audio. I'm getting used to the medium and can see that the acting ability of the narrator is what makes all the difference. More difference that the actual text written by the author. This narrator, a woman, chose to give the little boy a thin, reedy voice, almost laughable, but written, I could see that this had considerably greater depth. No matter what I read and hear, I have to say that still to me listening to an audio book is entirely synonymous to listening to a radio play and in no way has the depth of a written book - after all th e characterisation and emphasis have all been taken out of my hands and, like with a film, its someone else's interpretation that is feeding my brain.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shayantani

    A short story rendered to perfection. It’s about how a parent’s greed and dissatisfaction can affect their children and rob them of their innocence. Lots of symbolism in the story and I really liked it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Paul, the son of a loveless mother who is never satisfied with her lot, who considers herself unlucky because she hasn’t more money, obsesses about how he might help her be lucky, happy, and the home serene. At first he tries to ask her what being lucky means, and the only answer he receives is that people who are lucky have money. But no amount of money would ever be enough for her, that seems certain. Nonetheless, Paul, by riding his rocking horse to the point of frenzy, seems to have developed Paul, the son of a loveless mother who is never satisfied with her lot, who considers herself unlucky because she hasn’t more money, obsesses about how he might help her be lucky, happy, and the home serene. At first he tries to ask her what being lucky means, and the only answer he receives is that people who are lucky have money. But no amount of money would ever be enough for her, that seems certain. Nonetheless, Paul, by riding his rocking horse to the point of frenzy, seems to have developed the uncanny ability to predict what horse will win each race at the local track. Of course, he cannot always be sure, and when he is not he often loses. But when he is sure, his intuition is infallible. He makes more and more money, thousands of pounds. When he surreptitiously manages to have his mother receive some of it, she is still not satisfied. Finally, in an orgy of rocking, he is able to predict a winner that earns him 80,000 pounds, but the ride pushes him over the edge into brain fever and death. His mother has won a huge amount of money at the price of her son. This story has more that a small amount of the aura of the fantastic, if not technically magical realism at least its verisimilitude. There is almost a fairy tale quality to it. Throughout there is a crabbed sense of greed and meanness, of unhappiness that seeks relief in riches, unhappiness that can never be satisfied. A small child takes upon himself the impossible task of making a loveless and eternally unsatisfied adult be happy, a futile aspiration guaranteed to rob him of his childhood, in a real sense of his life. What burdens we often place upon our children, burdens that are impossible to carry, burdens that are really our own. The worst of these may be our requiring them to meet our own emotional needs, to fill the emptiness that resides in our own heart. And in so doing we can kill the innocence and spontaneity, the freedom and happiness that are the joy of childhood. Whatever is gained cannot compensate for what is lost.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kels

    Let me just start off by saying that I'm fiercely unafraid of criticizing and rejecting a classic. I'm not all that impressed by antiquity, nor do I feel the need to rate something highly just because it is a lauded piece of literature. So now that we have gotten that out the way, I must say that The Rocking Horse Winner is a lackluster tale, more akin to a fable, that blatantly and obtrusively tries to weave in morality within its plot with all the elegance of a T-Rex trying to make up a bed. Let me just start off by saying that I'm fiercely unafraid of criticizing and rejecting a classic. I'm not all that impressed by antiquity, nor do I feel the need to rate something highly just because it is a lauded piece of literature. So now that we have gotten that out the way, I must say that The Rocking Horse Winner is a lackluster tale, more akin to a fable, that blatantly and obtrusively tries to weave in morality within its plot with all the elegance of a T-Rex trying to make up a bed. (just picture it!) The narrative suffers greatly from being depthless and of course, I do realize that this is a short story. Yet even shorts can do a good job of adding layers and profundity to a story, but this short decidedly doesn't put the slightest effort into accomplishing that feat. The writing was colorless, the characters went unexplained, and the plot and moral of the story was so obvious, really, it need not be written.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    This remains my favorite short story of all time. In that I will follow my dictum of when I was 15 and suggest that writing about it would damage the beauty of it. My English teachers were not impressed by my appeal to aesthetics. This story is about how greed overwhelms and isolates and alienates us from what is truly valuable in life, a constant theme within Lawrence. The topic is treated masterfully and the end is tragic. To me this wonderful story will always be hauntingly beautiful with a This remains my favorite short story of all time. In that I will follow my dictum of when I was 15 and suggest that writing about it would damage the beauty of it. My English teachers were not impressed by my appeal to aesthetics. This story is about how greed overwhelms and isolates and alienates us from what is truly valuable in life, a constant theme within Lawrence. The topic is treated masterfully and the end is tragic. To me this wonderful story will always be hauntingly beautiful with a moral to which the modern world has not paid sufficient attention.

  11. 5 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    You know I don't regularly recommend music with my book reviews but Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven seems almost scarily appropriate here and I will offer it in place of my usual opening quote. This story highlights the sometimes sad circumstance that can happen when a child feels (or is forced to feel/be) obligated for the well-being of his/her family. In this case the child without the knowledge of his mom feels called to this to relieve the hard circumstance of his family and it ends in the You know I don't regularly recommend music with my book reviews but Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven seems almost scarily appropriate here and I will offer it in place of my usual opening quote. This story highlights the sometimes sad circumstance that can happen when a child feels (or is forced to feel/be) obligated for the well-being of his/her family. In this case the child without the knowledge of his mom feels called to this to relieve the hard circumstance of his family and it ends in the way that you think a young child taking financial matters in his own hand behind his parent's back would but the plot...is not what you thought it was going to be. This book has a lot of interpretations from economic to social to feminist. It makes you really have to think who or what is bad here, there is an antagonist but where do I look for the antagonist at? I for one would think a combination of greed, bad communication, and indifference combine to be the real antagonist in this story, but I will let you read and tell me if I'm right. HEY! I THOUGHT OF ANOTHER SONG! XD Very dark humor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Perla

    "A short story about a boy and his quest to be "lucky". The boy knows that his family is struggling with money and he asks his mother how other people have more than they do. She says that some people are simply more "lucky" than others, and that their father was in fact, very unlucky. The boy begins searching for luck, and finds it while he's riding his rocking horse. Through some unknown force, the boy is able to predict the winner of the next horse race, after riding his rocking horse. The "A short story about a boy and his quest to be "lucky". The boy knows that his family is struggling with money and he asks his mother how other people have more than they do. She says that some people are simply more "lucky" than others, and that their father was in fact, very unlucky. The boy begins searching for luck, and finds it while he's riding his rocking horse. Through some unknown force, the boy is able to predict the winner of the next horse race, after riding his rocking horse. The story ends with the boy struggling to keep up with the amount of money that he thinks his mother wants, because she continually desires more and more money. The boy dies one night after riding the rocking horse for a very long time. I suppose that the moral of the story is about the mother's greed. While the boy continually wins races, it isn't enough for his parents, who want more and more expensive items. The boy dies before ever getting what he wanted, which was to be loved by his mother, while she was caught up in a world where she could never have enough. "

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I studied D.H. Lawrence's The Rocking Horse Winner in my creative writing class some time ago and it has always been a piece of his work that I greatly admire. The story appears to be very average on a surface level, but upon analyzing the many different possible interpretations that can be drawn from it, one begins to respect the amount of thought that was put into its conception. Needless to say to those who have read The Rocking Horse Winner, Freud would have a field day with this. Symbolism I studied D.H. Lawrence's The Rocking Horse Winner in my creative writing class some time ago and it has always been a piece of his work that I greatly admire. The story appears to be very average on a surface level, but upon analyzing the many different possible interpretations that can be drawn from it, one begins to respect the amount of thought that was put into its conception. Needless to say to those who have read The Rocking Horse Winner, Freud would have a field day with this. Symbolism is so prominant here, and it is when you slowly begin to decipher the true meanings behind the commonplace objects that Lawrence mentions that you will fully understand the story. I would wager that it was since reading this story that I have been so suspicious of that which I read, always searching for hidden connotations and expecting the unexpected at each turn. I no longer read a story and accept all of the details for face value. What a marvelous thing Lawrence has instilled in me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    You may read online here. Opening lines: There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Capsguy

    Prime example of how a short story can be done to perfection. Not a single word wasted.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Len Evans Jr

    Read this back when I was in college for an English Lit Class and totally loved it. "Master Painting Room" has stuck in my head ever since... Not that I need a special room for my Master Painting LOL

  17. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    One of the great short stories of all time. A must for all readers, especially those who haven't latched on to the short story genre. Sometimes a short story can stick with you far longer than a full length novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laurajean

    This story continues to haunt me. Sometimes when I'm paying bills, I can hear myself chanting "There must be more money. There must be more money."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Navy heart HamlinNBCT

    A banned author is good company to keep. Banning rebels of Modern realism is as bad as stifling the freedom to speak or the right to criticise a movie or actor-And how many critics would be unemployed if such nonsense was acceptable. As for D.H. Lawrence his critical examination of families who live beyond their means touches a nerve. I work in a State dependent upon a casino's revenue and never take the Casino's generosity for granted. Juxtaposing New England now against England's Upper Middle A banned author is good company to keep. Banning rebels of Modern realism is as bad as stifling the freedom to speak or the right to criticise a movie or actor-And how many critics would be unemployed if such nonsense was acceptable. As for D.H. Lawrence his critical examination of families who live beyond their means touches a nerve. I work in a State dependent upon a casino's revenue and never take the Casino's generosity for granted. Juxtaposing New England now against England's Upper Middle class dreams of yesteryear and the easy life is as natural as breathing . The view of the child raised in a family where the horse race millionaire was a testament to skilled selection, or a nightmare depending upon the reader's' perception of gambling is perhaps as much entertainment today as back in the 1800's!. The taste of a bet's earnings is a vice-right? What if the vice lands on the shoulders of a child- "There must be more money -The children could hear it all the time "-And Paul was one of those boys willing to please his mother. He'd tickle her whimsical fancy with money.-Behind the mask of Latin, the promise of a prestigious private school in England was his classic rocking horse fetish . Why a fetish? One must examine if Paul's family was Out of touch with reality or a child of delicate conditioning. -Are Paul's parents of a classic casebook study of criminal activity or sheer madness? ": The family is a madcap interesting study on the wanna be rich syndrome. Remember that ole diddy - "Here's to dear old Boston, The home of the bean and the cod, Where Lowells speak only to Cabots, And Cabots speak only to God." And as the nightshade closes upon their "poor devil son, in enters "The gardener , a shortish fellow with a little brown moustache and sharp little brown eyes , tiptoed into the room, touched his imaginary cap to Paul's mother , and stole to the bedside , starring with glittering , smallish eyes at the dying child." Are we dying yet in that frenzy to find a winner ? SAHNBCT

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brennan Wieland

    A short story about a boy and his quest to be "lucky". The boy knows that his family is struggling with money and he asks his mother how other people have more than they do. She says that some people are simply more "lucky" than others, and that their father was in fact, very unlucky. The boy begins searching for luck, and finds it while he's riding his rocking horse. Through some unknown force, the boy is able to predict the winner of the next horse race, after riding his rocking horse. The A short story about a boy and his quest to be "lucky". The boy knows that his family is struggling with money and he asks his mother how other people have more than they do. She says that some people are simply more "lucky" than others, and that their father was in fact, very unlucky. The boy begins searching for luck, and finds it while he's riding his rocking horse. Through some unknown force, the boy is able to predict the winner of the next horse race, after riding his rocking horse. The story ends with the boy struggling to keep up with the amount of money that he thinks his mother wants, because she continually desires more and more money. The boy dies one night after riding the rocking horse for a very long time. I suppose that the moral of the story is about the mother's greed. While the boy continually wins races, it isn't enough for his parents, who want more and more expensive items. The boy dies before ever getting what he wanted, which was to be loved by his mother, while she was caught up in a world where she could never have enough.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    A young boy (dead by the end of the story), in a family with a tragic pretentions on wealth, discovered that by riding his rocking-horse toy he could sometimes predict the winner of horse races. I read it several times, what the boy's uncle (his mother's brother) told his mother after he (the boy) had died yet I could not get its meaning. The uncle told the boy's mother: "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, A young boy (dead by the end of the story), in a family with a tragic pretentions on wealth, discovered that by riding his rocking-horse toy he could sometimes predict the winner of horse races. I read it several times, what the boy's uncle (his mother's brother) told his mother after he (the boy) had died yet I could not get its meaning. The uncle told the boy's mother: "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Menna Kh.

    One of the best short stories ever. Very beautifully written. This is a comfortably uncomfortable story about how a deadly sin could drive a boy mad. MOOOOORE.... MOOOOORE... I'm not going to say more, you have to read it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Whiskey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is the story of a boy's gift for picking the winners in horse races. An omniscient narrator relates the tale of a boy whose family is always short of money. His mother is incapable of showing love and is obsessed with the status that material wealth can provide. Her son is acutely aware of his mother's desire for money, and he is motivated to take action. He wants to help her, but he also wants to silence the voice that haunts him, the voice of the house itself "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is the story of a boy's gift for picking the winners in horse races. An omniscient narrator relates the tale of a boy whose family is always short of money. His mother is incapable of showing love and is obsessed with the status that material wealth can provide. Her son is acutely aware of his mother's desire for money, and he is motivated to take action. He wants to help her, but he also wants to silence the voice that haunts him, the voice of the house itself whispering, "There must be more money! There must be more money!" Paul questions his mother about the family's circumstances. When he asks her why they do not have a car and why they are the "poor members of the family," she responds "it's because your father has no luck." Dissatisfied with her answer, the boy presses her for an explanation of what makes one person lucky and another unlucky. Finally, he declares that he knows himself to be lucky because God told him so. With the help of Basset the gardener and his mother's brother Oscar, Paul sets out to prove his brazen assertion true by picking the winners in horse races. While riding on his rocking horse, Paul envisions the winners. Paul proves to be unnaturally talented at divining the winners of the races, and before too long he has saved a considerable sum of money. When his uncle asks him what he plans to do with the money he reveals that he wants to give it to his mother. He hopes that his contribution will bring her luck and make the house stop whispering. Because Paul wants to keep his success at betting a secret, Paul arranges through his uncle to give his mother an anonymous gift of a thousand pounds each year for five years. His gift does not have the intended effect, however. Instead of being delighted when she opens the envelope on her birthday, Paul's mother is indifferent, "her voice cold and absent." Desperate to please her, the boy agrees to let his mother have the whole five thousand at once. Instead of quieting the voices in house, Paul's generous gift causes the voices to go "mad, like a chorus of frogs on a spring evening." Although his mother finally can afford some of the fine things she has been craving, like fresh flowers and private school for Paul, the voices just "trilled and screamed in a sort of ecstasy." The more Paul gives, the more his mother and the voices in the house demand. Though his uncle tries to calm him, Paul becomes obsessed with picking the winner of the upcoming Derby, "his blue eyes blazing with a sort of madness" as he rides his rocking horse. The mother feels uncharacteristically sympathetic toward her son and urges him to join the family at seaside, but Paul insists on staying until after the Derby. The reason that Paul needs to stay in the house until the Derby is that his "secret of secrets" is his childhood rocking horse. The secret that he has never revealed to Basset or Uncle Oscar is that he is able to ride the rocking horse, which he has long since outgrown, until the wooden horse reveals to him the name of the winner in the next race. With so much riding on the Derby and the house whispering more insistently than ever, Paul knows he must be prepared for the ride of his young life. In fact, Paul is so anxious that even his mother feels the tension and suffers "sudden strange seizures of anxiety about him." Nevertheless, she decides to attend a big party two nights before the Derby, leaving Paul at home. Throughout the evening the mother is distracted by worry about her son's well-being. When she and her husband come home around one o'clock, she rushes immediately to Paul's room. Standing outside his door, the mother is frozen in her tracks by a "strange, heavy, and yet not loud noise" coming from inside the room. When she finally gathers the courage to enter the room she sees her son "in his green pajamas, madly urging on the rocking-horse." She has arrived just in time to here him cry out '"It's Malabar!' ... in a powerful, strange voice." Then, "his eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second" and he crashes to the floor unconscious. Neither the mother nor the father understand the significance of the word, but Uncle Oscar knows that it is one of the horses racing in the Derby. Oscar, "in spite of himself," places a bet on Malabar and passes on the tip to Basset. By the third day, the day of the Derby, the boy has still not regained consciousness and his condition appears to be worsening. Desperate for anything that might help her son, the mother allows Basset a short visit with Paul. Paul does regain consciousness, but just long enough to learn that Malabar had been the winner and that he has made over eighty thousand pounds for his mother. His mother still does not acknowledge that her son had been lucky or that she truly loves him. At the moment of Paul's death, Oscar chides his sister: "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand pounds to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ledrew

    D.H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking Horse Winner” is a story about family dynamics that poses a tough critique of several relevant social ills. Paul’s growing addiction to gambling is fuelled by his uncle’s excitement and a desire for his mother’s love. Paul’s family experience, one drenched in neglect, addictive personalities and despair, directly results in his death. Paul’s oedipal complex with his emotionally closed off mother, the absence of his father as a strong figure in his life, and his uncle D.H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking Horse Winner” is a story about family dynamics that poses a tough critique of several relevant social ills. Paul’s growing addiction to gambling is fuelled by his uncle’s excitement and a desire for his mother’s love. Paul’s family experience, one drenched in neglect, addictive personalities and despair, directly results in his death. Paul’s oedipal complex with his emotionally closed off mother, the absence of his father as a strong figure in his life, and his uncle Oscar’s encouragement of addictive behaviours in Paul and Hester culminates in a tale that has the hallmarks of modern family dramas. “The Rocking Horse Winner” is an undoubtedly twisted tale that becomes even more bizarre as each nuance is examined. “The Rocking Horse Winner” starts by introducing Hester’s life to the reader. She is introduced as “a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages” but for all those advantages has nothing. (D.H. Lawrence, 517) She is described as having “no luck”, but what it seems she has is no empathy. (517) Her children and husband do not have her love, only “dust” and a “hard little place [in her heart]”. (517) This is undoubtedly the root of Paul’s eventual demise, for what child would not do whatever they could for the love of their mother? Paul’s intense desire to please his mother is perhaps best exemplified by how he deals with Hester’s conflict with Paul’s father over money. Paul seems to see his father through Hester’s eyes: a man who cannot provide for his family, but more importantly cannot provide for his wife. Paul simultaneously tries to fill the void his father creates in their lives and earn his mother’s love. In this action Paul fills an oedipal version of himself, desperate for his mother’s affection while also taking over as the provider of the household. Though his age is never stated explicitly in the text, Lawrence gives ques to illustrate the child’s age in the storybook nature of the narrative. From the first line “There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck[,]” (517) reads like the beginning of a Grimm’s fairytale and sets the story firmly into the point of view of its childlike protagonist. Yet despite the fact that Paul could arguably be considered to be the primary character of the story, much of the narrative description is of the mother and exclusively of the mother, with very few references to Paul’s father (who is never named). This mimics Freud’s theory of oedipal nature, wherein a boy between the ages of three-to-six will begin to focus heavily on their relationship with their mother and become jealous of their emotionally in conflict with their father. This age range of three-to-six fits in with the narrative, as Paul seems to have little concept of the worth of money (521) and in Hester’s assertion that Paul is “too big for a rocking horse” (526). In this respect “The Rocking-Horse Winner” can be seen as being written to be one of the cautionary tales that its writing style mimics, and indeed there are elements of cautionary tales present in it. Like much fiction written either partially or wholly from a child’s perspective, experiences beyond the perception of a child are seen as supernatural and frightening in nature. This house is repeatedly described to be whispering “There must be more money!” (518, 523) even though it is stated that nobody in the family actually ever complains of a need for more money. This speaks volumes of the child’s (and all children’s) ability to comprehend stress and anxiety within their home. Paul possesses an empathy that his mother does not, as he is able to see and understand her desire to have more money and even attempt to rectify it, though she takes little notice of the physical strain that Paul’s addiction takes on him at such a young age. Only once does she attempt to save him from his fate, when she attempts to get him to go to the seaside: “promise we you won’t let your nerves go to pieces. Promise you won’t think so much about horse-racing and events, as you call them!” (525) (emphasis the author’s). Here Hester, for the first time, shows clarity into the stress and pastimes of her young son, but is quickly dismayed from doing anything about it. This is a turning point for Hester, as the upcoming race Paul is so anxious about that she is attempting to distract him from is the Derby, the divining-for which would soon cost him his life. The question then becomes is this a cautionary tale aimed at gamblers, who might see the child’s fate as their own before it’s too late? Or is this a cautionary tale aimed at parents negligent to the fact that their stresses and anxieties become the stressors and anxieties of their children? Or is it both? As stated above, despite Paul being the primary protagonist of the story, the story serves as a cautionary tale with Hester as the role we are meant to learn from. When viewing Hester’s story-arc she follows the classic cautionary tale format: a dramatic and romantic introduction, followed by an explanation of hardship and an introduction into woe. Then there is hope (when, on page 524, Paul and Oscar arrange for the five thousand dollars to make it into her hands) and folly (when she not only decides to take the money all at once but also does not spend it on bettering their financial situation), followed by a chance at redemption (as stated above, when she sees the effect the horse-racing is having on her son and has the opportunity to stop it). Like all cautionary tales it does not end well. Characters caste in such roles are prone to martyrdom, often becoming examples to impart on the reader the worst-possible outcome of undesirable actions. The story then ends with a clear statement of the lesson-to-be-learned by Oscar: “My God, Hester, you’re eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he’s best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner,” (528). “The Rocking Horse Winner” is also a tale about the perils of greed and gambling. Paul has two men in his life who function as “enablers” for his illicit activities: Bassett the gardener, who acted as an illegal “booky” for the child, and Oscar, who appeared at several points to see the inherit danger in allowing his nephew to partake in such a lifestyle but allowed his greed to stop him from doing anything about it. Of the two, Bassett is the only one not to have shown any true emotional loss during the story. A gardener for the family, he uses the tips he gets from Paul to double and then redouble his money again and again. Even at the end when visiting Paul on his deathbed, he comes with the news that the horse Paul predicted had one and that he “went a thousand on it” (527). Bassett, much like a real, legal booky, can be seen as a shill for the gambling industry and an approximation of the truism: “the house always wins.” He alone suffers no consequence and only lucrative gains for his part in placing Paul’s bets, much as the large casinos and the gambling industry make their money off those that gamble without feeling the hardship that it causes its patrons.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anatoly

    The short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence arose up the question about the role of money, luck, and happiness in people's lives. The main character, the boy, was involved in the world of adults with its excitement, horse racing, money. The writer made references in the plot of the story to the circumstances which were causes for making the family’s story into a horror story as it became clear in the end. D. H. Lawrence described in the story the dark sides of the human psyche The short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence arose up the question about the role of money, luck, and happiness in people's lives. The main character, the boy, was involved in the world of adults with its excitement, horse racing, money. The writer made references in the plot of the story to the circumstances which were causes for making the family’s story into a horror story as it became clear in the end. D. H. Lawrence described in the story the dark sides of the human psyche but he did it without any acquisitions, presenting society life as it is. He gave readers the freedom to express their attitude toward the situation described in the story. Here is the text of the story: http://www.westbrowardhigh.org/ourpag...

  26. 5 out of 5

    P.S. Winn

    This short story that tells of greed seems to be something that happens whether it was in the time of this author or in the here and now.

  27. 5 out of 5

    María

    Part of my English Language I course.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiny Mendoza

    Fucking browser suddenly refreshed sending my almost-finished review to fucking nowhere. Is it the instinct of an offspring to help his/her parents in any way that he/she can? The story is about a boy named Paul, who has a mother that claimed herself to be "unlucky" (because her husband is one) explaining that that is the reason why they are poor. The boy noticed that his family needed more money and it seemed to him that the house whispers it all the time. He owns a rocking horse, and when he Fucking browser suddenly refreshed sending my almost-finished review to fucking nowhere. Is it the instinct of an offspring to help his/her parents in any way that he/she can? The story is about a boy named Paul, who has a mother that claimed herself to be "unlucky" (because her husband is one) explaining that that is the reason why they are poor. The boy noticed that his family needed more money and it seemed to him that the house whispers it all the time. He owns a rocking horse, and when he rode it for a very long time he seems to know the names of the winners in the horse-races in town. Because of that, he won a lot of money (with the help of his uncle and the family's gardener) and he wanted five-thousand of that winnings to be sent to his mother on her birthdays, one-thousand every year. But her mother wasn't contented and asked to receive the entire amount at once. The boy relented and the house whispered that they needed more money much frequently. This made the boy relentless which made him to lose in the races. Then he rode his rocking horse again to know the name of the winning horse. Her mother found him and told her the name of the winner. The uncle and the gardener made the bets and returned to tell the boy that he won eighty-thousand pounds, but he died. At the end of the story, his uncle told her mother,“My God, Hester, you’re eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he’s best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking horse to find a winner.” I rather liked it and it's a really great story about how people can be so greedy. We should be contented on the things we have and we should want all the things we have.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    This story is so sad. It's so heavily laden with greed that it makes me sick. The mother and father destroy their marriage, their home and their children with their greed. The oldest, a boy, sets out to prove to his mother that he is lucky because, to her, luck means you can always get more money. As the house whispers, "There must be more money!" the boy named Paul continues to do what he can to become lucky never telling his mother his secret: Sometimes he is sure about the winning horse in This story is so sad. It's so heavily laden with greed that it makes me sick. The mother and father destroy their marriage, their home and their children with their greed. The oldest, a boy, sets out to prove to his mother that he is lucky because, to her, luck means you can always get more money. As the house whispers, "There must be more money!" the boy named Paul continues to do what he can to become lucky never telling his mother his secret: Sometimes he is sure about the winning horse in the races. This is an awesome story with a great moral. It is a requirement for my English 102 Ideas and Values in Literature and I'm so glad it was.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Asmita

    Three words - simple, touching, heart-breaking. It's a story dealing with the short-comings of a family due to lack of money and a young boy's hope to win back peace to his mother's life by giving her what she wants. The plot is simple and well concocted. The written style is beautiful and done with a lot of finesse. Even though it is a short story, it helps the reader traverse various emotions and ends with a pinch of tragedy in the end.

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