drawing of a young boy riding a rocking-horse

The Rocking-Horse Winner

by D. H. Lawrence

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What secret whisper does Paul keep hearing from his rocking-horse in D. H. Lawrence's story "The Rocking-Horse Winner"?  

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At the start of D. H. Lawrence's story "The Rocking-Horse Winner," Paul and his sisters hear the words whispered through the springs of the rocking-horse, "There must be more money! There must be more money!" Additionally, they hear the same words whispered all throughout the house.

Towards the end of the story, we learn that Paul's rocking-horse also whispers the names of winning horses in upcoming races. This is a belief Paul develops after first talking with his mother about luck, a conversation that leads him to feel determined to be a lucky person. Feeling the need to do something to bring his mother luck, Paul rides his rocking-horse in a frenzied manner, certain his horse can take him to where luck is, just as a real horse would be able to take him to a destination.

We learn that Paul wildly rides his rocking-horse until he hears it whisper the name of the winning horse once Paul becomes obsessed with earning more money for his mother. When she is disappointed that his secret gift of 5,000 pounds is so little, he begins feeling an urgent need to be certain of the winner for the next big races. Sadly, he loses money in the Grand National and the Lincoln, which makes him even more determined to be certain of the winner for the Derby. He is so determined that he begs his mother to let him postpone his seaside holiday so that he can ride his rocking-horse.

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