And the Winner is….

The short story ” The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence is about a boy who obsessively rides a rocking horse in order to predict horse race winners so he can make money to appease his mother, and make her happy. Paul is a young boy, with two sisters, and a mother and father. He has the so called “picture perfect” life.   In reality, behind the closed doors of his luxurious home there lives a materialistic mother and father who don’t really care for their children. Paul just wants to feel loved and have a sense of purpose within his family, yet his mother never gives him this. He tries everything in his limited youthful abilities to get her attention and make her proud by being “lucky”, as she thinks being lucky is the way to riches.   He rides a rocking horse and in doing so is able to dream the winners of future horse races.  This allows him to bet money on the races and ‘earn’ money for his family to make them happy.  Unfortunately, by the end of the short story all he leaves behind is his dead body and his greedy family with all the money he won.  Paul riding the rocking horse in a frenzy and not getting anywhere is a parallel to people needing more and more money and never getting ahead because as quickly as they earn it, they spend it.   He represents the sacrifice that people make in order to gain material wealth at all costs.  Paul is that cost in his family.  Paul’s eyes are big and blue which are described multiple times throughout the story. This gives this character a dreamlike quality, and seems to allude to his intelligence.  This is demonstrated in this quote which takes place during the time in which Paul and his uncle Oscar were making bets on the racing horses. “The boy gazed at his uncle from those big, hot, blue eyes, set rather close together.” (225).   The intelligence and passion behind Paul’s eyes is represented in the following passage, “The child had never been to a race meeting before, and his eyes were blue fire”(226). Paul begins the story as an optimistic, dedicated, determined boy who has revealing dreams.  By the end of the story his dreams have destroyed him, and he is an empty shell with no life in his eyes. Paul’s main goals throughout the story are to make money for his family to make his mother happy, so he can feel loved by her. He also thinks that if he makes enough money he can get rid of the voices in the house that are demanding more money. Paul is an innocent young boy who just wants to feel loved yet he suffers in the end for only trying to help his family. The mother-son relationship in this short story is a mess of unfulfilled hopes, dreams, desires, and anxiety between the two characters. Near the end of the story it shows how Paul’s character has changed which is clear in this quote “He neither slept nor regained consciousness, and his eyes were like blue stones” (234). The life and the fire had been drained from him.  The writer leaves the reader wondering if Paul’s mother will feel regret and feel sadness at the loss of her son for the sake of the powerful lure of money.


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