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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Do you think Oscar and Bassett where right to encourage Paul to keep betting? Why or why not?

Expert Answers info

Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write5,459 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In D. H. Lawrence's story, Paul is a young boy who develops an unusual talent for picking the winning horse in a race.

Oscar is Paul's uncle, and he inadvertently plays a key role in the action because he made a gift of money to his nephew. Bassett is the gardener at Paul's family's home. His involvement is even stronger than Oscar's, especially at first. He is the character who most enjoys betting on the horses, and he encourages Paul to play as well. As Paul’s lucky streak continues and the winnings pile up, Paul lets his uncle in on the secret.

Lawrence portrays a society in which the roles are reversed. The adults behave childishly and a small child becomes a responsible breadwinner. As Paul decides to help his mother, who always claims to need more money, he effectively takes on the role of a parent. In that Oscar and Barrett are amused by Paul’s talent and support him in a hobby that he enjoys, they are not behaving responsibly. At a certain point, either man could have called off the game. Oscar seems the more likely character to intervene, as he is actually Paul’s relative. Both men, however, know of the mother’s irresponsible behavior and could have advised Paul how to hold onto his savings and benefit both his parents and himself in future.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial