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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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How is Rocking-Horse Winner like a fairy tale?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Fairy tales typically have magical elements and teach a lesson that demonstrates an important cultural value. Fairy tales also involve a specific problem that must be solved and generally incorporate either extremely wealthy or poverty-stricken characters. D.H. Lawrence's classic short story "Rocking-Horse Winner" incorporates many common elements typically found in fairy tales. The conflict of the story revolves around Paul's mother, who considers herself unlucky because she is not wealthy and cannot love her children. The magical elements incorporated throughout the story involve the house constantly whispering "There must be more money! There must be more money!" and Paul's magical rocking horse, which gives him knowledge about the winning horse in the upcoming races. Paul's family is not extremely wealthy, and Paul spends all of his energy attempting to win enough money to please his mother and stop the house from whispering. Paul's death holds an important moral lesson regarding the vain pursuit of wealth and teaches readers that money cannot buy happiness or love.

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skipperb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Rocking-Horse Winner resembles a fairy tale in its depictions of luxurious living and mystical powers.

Hester and her husband symbolize the king and queen, and their children are royalty.

Paul can be compared to the prince in the line of succession with his uncle being of noble blood.

The gardener is the trusted family servant.

Hearing whispers of money means that the house is possessed by an evil spell—in this case—the need for an increasing amount of money. The uncle may be seen as a wise servant who looks out for the prince.

The rocking horse can be a fairy or a witch, depending on the story, that leads to the prince’s doom.

Thus, money becomes the “evil magic.”Paul's death, in the end, is the price for obtaining this magic. We do not see a happy ending or a time of mourning or grieving. 

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