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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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What is the plot summary in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawerence?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A young boy named Paul is growing up with his younger sisters and parents in a comfortable middle-class home. Paul's mother, however, is incapable of loving her husband or children. Something is missing in her psyche, and she tries to compensate for it with money. But no amount of money can fill that hole inside that comes from being unable to love.

Therefore, even the house itself seems to breath her need for more and more money. When she tells Paul she is unlucky, he declares he is lucky. As it happens, he is: mysteriously and supernaturally, he can tell which horse will win a future raise by riding his own rocking horse very hard. He begins to win significant sums of money betting on races, money which he gives to his mother. He thinks he can earn enough to win her love. This is not possible, and finally he rides until he gets sick and dies—but first names the winner of the Derby, gaining a huge sum for his mother.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The basic gist of the story revolves around a small family, whose mother and father are always wanting more money. The children can sense this, and in a misguided attempt to win his mother's love, the little boy, Paul, tries to get money for his mother.  He actually succeeds quite well; through riding his rocking horse, he is able to glean the names of winning horses in the horse races. The gardener and uncle discover his talent, and help him invest money in the races.  He wins a lot for his mother, and secretly gives it to her.  She just wastes it, however, and doesn't love her son any more.  His rocking-horse riding becomes more intent and feverish, and eventually sends him into illness and death.  His mother realizes, too late, what he had been doing.

I would highly recommend reading the story, if you haven't already.  It is an engaging read, filled with symbolism and meaning.  I hope that helped; good luck!

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