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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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What kind of child is Paul? What are his motivations?

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Paul longs for his mother's love. We learn early in the story that his mother "felt the centre of her heart go hard" around her children. She tries to hide this, but her two daughters and Paul sense she doesn't really love them. 

Paul's mother, a proud woman, yearns for more money and likes to keep up appearances. She feels disappointed that her husband has not been more successful. Paul, a sensitive child, feels an "anxiety in the house" that haunts it. The very walls seem to cry out, "There must be more money." Everyone feels the "grinding sense of the shortage of money."

Paul internalizes his mother's desire for money. Like her, he is proud. He wants to please her, but his pride is injured when she doesn't believe that God told him that he was lucky: 

The boy saw...

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mkcapen1 | Student

In the story “The Rocking Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawerence, Paul is a much neglected child.  He is quiet and more to himself.  Because of this he retreats to the rocking horse from his nursery days.  He rocks and rocks faster and faster until eventually he is able to visualize himself winning races.

Paul needs nurturing and his mother's love.  He continues to try to please his mother by riding harder and harder on the rocking horse.  He is also a child who is a true winner because he does not quit.  Despite his mother's ability to want and demand more, he keeps on going until it kills him.