The Rocking-Horse Winner Study Guide
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Themes
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Characters
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Analysis
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Critical Essays
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Questions & Answers
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Introduction
The Rocking-Horse Winner: Biography of D. H. Lawrence
Introduction to The Rocking-Horse Winner
“The Rocking-Horse Winner” is a short story by D.H. Lawrence. It was originally published in 1926 in Harper’s Bazaar, and it is one of Lawrence’s most popular and frequently anthologized works. The attitudes it adopts towards its characters and towards society at large are indicative of those held by many of Lawrence’s contemporaries. People began to grow disillusioned with the social veneer of politeness, and they instead sought to explore the underlying motivations for why people did the things they did.
At the heart of “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is the conflict between materialism and genuine love. Paul, a young boy able to predict the outcomes of horse races by sitting on his rocking-horse, is a generous and kind child. He only wants to make his mother, Hester, happy. However, Hester is obsessed with material wealth, and constantly laments her apparently poor luck. Even after Paul conspires to give her five-thousand pounds of his winnings, she only becomes more materialistic, which highlights the fact that money cannot truly buy happiness. Instead, happiness must come from within, and true love and genuine affection must prevail over the desire for personal gain.
A Brief Biography of D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) was a major English writer of the early twentieth century. A prolific author of essays, plays, poems, short stories, and novels, Lawrence focused throughout much of his work on the physical and emotional relationships between men and women, subjects which drew Lawrence into considerable controversy. His novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1929) and Sons and Lovers (1913) were censored or outright banned because of their sexual content, and some of his manuscripts were even seized by British authorities for perceived indecency. Despite his initially shaky reception, Lawrence is now recognized by many critics as a masterly writer who would not shy away from depicting the deep complexity of human interactions.