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

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story begins like a fairy tale because it uses magic and is designed to teach a moral, that you should focus on those you love and not material possessions.

The story begins with a description of a woman.

There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.  

This is a very fairy-tale like beginning, because it introduces the woman as being beautiful (common in a fairy tale), but also comments on her luck.

There is also an element of magic in the story, just as with a fairy tale.  The boy uses the rocking horse to put himself into a magical trance-like state so that he can determine the winners of the horse races.

The boy insisted on putting a thousand on the horse, Bassett went for five hundred, and Oscar Cresswell two hundred.  Lively Spark came in first, and the betting had been ten to one against him, Paul had made ten thousand.

Finally, there is a clear moral to the story.  Because Hester is more concerned with money than her son, and she loses her son because of it. 

He neither slept nor regained consciousness, and his eyes were like blue stones. His mother sat, feeling her heart had gone, turned actually into a stone.

It is his mother’s greed and unceasing desire for money that causes her son’s death.  She thinks only of herself, and she pays with her son’s life.  He wanted to take care of her, to help her.  His was a self-less sacrifice, and hers was a completely selfish act.

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The Rocking-Horse Winner

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