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

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Why does the story "The Rocking Horse Winner" begin like a fairy tale?

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The story begins like a fairy tale because it will introduce an element of the supernatural, which is common in the fairy tale genre. Whether we realize it or not, we are cued how to read a story by elements in the story, and so Lawrence begins with the fairytale motif of filling in background quickly without providing specific names or places. This gives the story its mythic, timeless quality. It also introduces us to the classic fairytale "witch" in the form of the mother who is incapable of loving her children.

Lawrence will move into some small sense of place or time; the Derby clues us in, for example, that the setting is England, but the story largely continues in a generic way. We don't know what city the family lives in, the name of their street, or their last name, although we do learn Uncle Oscar's last name.

This fairytale quality makes us accept the magic of Paul being able to predict winning racehorses by riding his rocking horse furiously, a situation that would make no...

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