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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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In “The Rocking- Horse Winner” by D.H Lawrence, does the mother appear as the villain rather than the father?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I certainly view the mother as more of a villain than the father in "The Rocking-Horse Winner." Hester, the mother, shows no love for her son or husband: Her only love is for money and material possessions for her home. She pays little attention to her son, and when Paul gives her a monthly allowance from his winnings, she only wants the entire amount given to her at once. She does show some concern for her ailing son near the end of the story, but upon his death, her brother berates her for her lack of emotion.

"My God, Hester, you're eighty-thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner."

The father, who holds a job but seems to be stricken with the bad luck that his son rarely experiences, can be faulted for inattentiveness toward his son. Paul spends far more time with Bassett, the nurse and his uncle than either of his parents, and the father seems to be dominated by his selfish wife. However, author D. H. Lawrence gives the reader little to go by, since the father (who is never named) is rarely mentioned or present. We can only assume by his absence that he cares to be with Paul as little as possible, a trait that he shares with his wife.

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