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

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Is "The Rocking-Horse Winner" similar to "Teenage Wasteland" when compared in relation to the two main characters? Need more ideas to compare and contrast the two main characters. Need as much as you can give!

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I must admit I haven't read Tyler's Teenage Wasteland.  This question has been up here for a couple of days, though, and figured something was better than nothing. I read the excellent enotes summary which I've included below and I have a few observations. 

In general, there do seem to be some similarities between Donny and Paul.  Both have disconnected parents, though they are more connected to their mothers.  Both mothers are relatively unaware of their son's doings, though the boys are certainly "doing" different things. 

There is a certain hopelessness, it seems, which both boys share. Paul is dismayed by the whispers of the house and his mother's insistence that they're unlucky; Donny seems generally disconnected to the school experience.  Both boys turn to something else, one by choice and one by decree.  Paul hangs with the stable hand who teaches him the ropes of horse gambling, while Donny hangs with his tutor who encourages him in his discontent. 

From there the boys' paths diverge, I think.  Paul is motivated to make things better for his family, to create wealth that would feed the hungry whispers in the house.  Donny just walks away in defeat.  Paul wears himself out in a manic ride; Donny is seen in the image of the bleached bones at the end of the novel. 

One area which does appear to be similar--but again, I haven't read the second work--is the physicality of each of them as the stories progress.  Paul's is seen in his eyes; the reference in the study guide is to Donny's smile. 

I'm hoping this is enough to get you, who have read both selections, some points of comparison and contrast to think about and write from.  Sorry I couldn't be more help!

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