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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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Who or what is responsible for Paul's death in "The Rocking Horse Winner"?

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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bookM.A. from Dordt University


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This is a great open-ended question; therefore, the answer is up for debate and will differ from reader to reader. Which answer is defended most depends a bit on the type of reader.

A literal, scientific, and concrete answer type of reader will say that the boy died from exhaustion. David's body simply couldn't handle the pushing that he and his family were putting him through. His exhaustion left him susceptible to getting sick, and once he was sick, he never let his body rest enough to recover. He died as a consequence of this.

A reader that looks for symbolism and that "deeper meaning" might...

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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vnessawong21 | Student

Although the answer above covers most of it, I would like to introduce another interesting outlook on this question. It could be argued that it was love that ultimately killed Paul. While on the surface it was riding the rocking horse which ultimately killed Paul, the reader must dissect Paul's motivations to find the real reason behind his death. It is Paul's desire to be loved that ultimately kills him. However, if we go a layer deeper the theory arises that to love, you must love first. It can be argued that Paul won so much money and rode the rocking horse because he loved his mother and it was this love that ultimately killed him.  

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