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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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How is Paul similar to a tragic hero?

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A tragic hero is typically an upper-class person who, through a character flaw or mistake of judgment, comes to a bad end. Paul comes from a well-to-do family. He lives in a fine house with servants but it is a home that is plagued by the mother's insatiable desire for more and more money. Paul is a child and his flaw may be said to be his mixture of relentless, determined pride and naive hope: he believes that he can fix his mother's problem, and is unable to recognize that no amount of money will ever be enough to fill the hole in his mother's heart. His mistake is his belief that if he can ride the rocking-horse long enough and hard enough, he can win enough money at the races to make his mother happy and earn her love. The price of this is his own death: he kills himself to win her the Derby money.

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