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

The Rocking-Horse Winner book cover
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Write the message and theme of the story "The Rocking-Horse Winner."

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This story has multiple themes in it, and choosing the main message is going to differ from reader to reader; therefore, feel free to pick the message that resonates most with you. There are certainly themes and messages about family, love, and greed in this story. Personally, I feel that this story serves as a good illustration to readers that rampant materialistic greed is a thirst that simply cannot be quenched. Paul's mother simply refuses to be satisfied with what she has, and her desires for more push Paul to the breaking point. I think the story serves as a warning against becoming like Paul's mother, but I also feel that the story is a good warning for people to actively avoid people like Paul's mother. That type of person is only out for their own personal gain, and they will seek it at the cost of everybody else. Perhaps a very cynical message to readers is illustrated through Paul and his unceasing love and desire to make his mother happy. Often, people like to think that love is some kind of unstoppable force that will win out and solve problems. This story teaches that love isn't capable of fixing everything.

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In "The Rocking Horse Winner" the protagonist, paul becomes obsessed with rocking his horse to win money--an obsession that ultimately kills him, like most obsessions in general. Paul believes in LUCK as the motivation to keep winning; therefore, luck becomes an interesting theme that drives obsession, desire and ambition.

The theme of obsession is also linked with the theme of materialistic ambition. The idea that there is never enough money to be content.  Paul gratefully gives the money to his mother and takes the role of provider for the family, but the responsibility is too much for the young character and drives him to obsession.

Pauls' young innocence is destroyed by desire for more money, a desire that makes him ill, but wins him a great fortune. In the end, was the fortune worth a human life?