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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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What are all the motifs in "The Rocking-Horse Winner"? Why is D.H. Lawrence called "the master of the motif"?

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A motif is a recurring theme or element in a piece of literature (  There are several motifs in "The Rocking-Horse Winner":  Oedipus complex, responsibility, and generosity and greed (  Briefly, Paul has taken the place of the father by providing money to his mother through his horse racing predictions; also, he has taken on the role of parent through responsibility for providing for them monetarily (ironically, it should be the parents taking care of the children); finally, Paul is extremely generous by giving the money he has won to his mother without question (but she spends it on material things instead of saving it); finally, greed is an obvious theme in this story--his mother is horribly greedy and doesn't express to Paul how much she loves him, etc.  She is not a good mother.  D.H. Lawrence definitely is a true master of the motif through his strong use of theme and symbols (for example, the rocking-horse represents a way of life/money in the story). 

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