drawing of a young boy riding a rocking-horse

The Rocking-Horse Winner

by D. H. Lawrence

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Can "The Rocking-Horse Winner" be interpreted as a story of a rite of passage?

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Not surprised you are having trouble interpreting the short story "The Rocking Horse Winner" by D H Lawrence as a rite of passage. If it is a rite of passage, it isn't a very nice one. A rite of passge in reference to childhood should refer to a young man's development emotionally and socially into adulthood. Yet in Lawrence's short story, the poor child never seems to have had a carefree childhood to pass from. In some ways, he has never been a cherished child so therefore has always been a little adult. Always conscious of his mother's disatisfaction with life and with him, he spends his entire childhood trying to please and trying to help - and failing. In many many ways, his rite of passage means learning that no matter how hard he tries, he can never win the battle to satiate anothers needs.

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