drawing of a young boy riding a rocking-horse

The Rocking-Horse Winner

by D. H. Lawrence

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What point of view is "The Rocking-Horse Winner" written in?

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"The Rocking-Horse Winner" is written in third-person omniscient point of view, which allows for readers to understand both the mother's sense of frustration with her own economic situation and the sense of disconnect she feels toward her own children. Additionally, readers are able to understand Paul's desire to please his mother through the omniscient point of view.

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"The Rocking Horse Winner" is written in third-person omniscient point of view, which allows the reader to become intimately aware of both the mother's sense of frustration with her economic situation and with Paul's sense of desperation to make his mother happy.

Early in the story, the third-person omniscient narration...

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makes it possible to determine the mother's sense of disconnect with her own children:

Whenever her children were present, she felt the center of her heart go hard. This troubled her, and in her manner she was all the more gentle and concerned for her children, as if she loved them very much.

In fact, the mother does not love her children very much, though she knows that she is supposed to. While this troubles her somewhat, she is more concerned with a feeling that she has been destined for a life that she is unable to attain:

There must be more money, there must be more money. The father, who was very handsome and expensive in his tastes, seemed as if he never would be able to do anything worth doing. And the mother, who thought highly of herself and whose tastes were just as expensive, did not succeed any better.

Because of the omniscient narration, the mother's insatiable desire for money is made clear. Her desperation is evident in her belief that her husband isn't capable of producing the lifestyle she desires and that she believes she is owed since she thinks so highly of herself.

Paul's sense of desperation to make his mother happy is also clear through this point of view. When he tells his mother that he is lucky, he realizes that "she did not believe him." This is frustrating to Paul:

This angered him a little, and made him want to make her believe him.

In his quest to prove to his mother that he can provide the "luck" she so desperately longs for, he becomes resolute in his sense of purpose:

He went off feeling confused and, in a childish way, looking for the secret to "luck." Thinking of nothing else, taking no notice of other people, he went about keeping to himself, looking for luck. He wanted luck, he needed it.

Readers are again privy to the inner thoughts and motivations of Paul. The desires of the mother and Paul's desire to please her sets up the conflict that is central to the story.

This point of view also allows for an almost mystical characterization of the house, which has a "voice" of its own that demands "more money" from every corner.

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