The Rocking-Horse Winner Questions and Answers
by D. H. Lawrence

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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Do you think Hester loves her son in "The Rocking-Horse Winner"? Are there moments in the story when she seems more sympathetic than others? How would you explain the way her feelings towards Paul change (or don't change) throughout course of the story?

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In “The Rocking-Horse Winner,” D. H. Lawrence presents Hester as a woman whose ability to love others drastically shrank after she married and had children. While she chose a romantic attachment over a more practical one, she lost interest in her husband once she decided that he was unlucky. It seems that she regards children as a burden, which symbolizes the absence of luck instead of appreciating them or finding any emotional benefit from motherhood.

At the same time, Hester does not question whether she deserves her son Paul’s love for her. She remains unaware that there is any relationship between his actions—which she faithfully believes are rooted in luck—and the monetary gifts that are coming her way. Sadly, it is only when Paul becomes ill that she starts to exhibit anything resembling maternal feelings and concern for her child. Hester makes arrangements for Paul to take a seaside holiday so he can recover, but she also places much of his care in the hands of others. It remains unclear whether her own anxiety is of greater concern than the boy’s health. The reader is left to decide if her behavior or his physical ailments are more responsible for his untimely death.

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