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

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What is the meaning of Uncle Oscar's statement to Paul's mother at the end of the story?

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Uncle Oscar is drawing a contrast between the extraordinary luck of Paul's betting the horses and the absence of good fortune with regard to his life—and the fact that Paul is now dead. It's as if Paul has given his mother a gift by picking a winner but, at the same time, has sacrificed himself. His death, of course, is his mother's loss as well, which is what Oscar means by saying she is "eighty odd thousand to the good, but a poor devil of a son to the bad." The final statement, that he is "best gone out of life riding his rocking horse to a winner," encapsulates the overall theme of sacrifice and the idea that if Paul is to die, he is better off doing so through an action that enables him to accomplish something for his mother: in this case, winning tens of thousands on the horses.

Paul is a kind of Christ figure, redeeming his mother through his own death. It's significant that Paul lingers three days in his illness and then accomplishes his mission. The irony is that the...

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