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The Rocking Horse Winner
Transcript of The Rocking Horse Winner
Grew up in Haggs Farm
Grew up in the working class
His mother instilled a desire to love books and try to rise up in the social hierarchy
Known for having sexual themes and innuendos Continued Married Frieda Weekley
Was prosecuted many times for obscenity in his writing
Was influenced by his mother's death and the issues of that time
Emotional health, irrational behavior, the war
Faced criticism for his work due to misinterpretation
Challenged others to interpret human emotion on a deeper level through his writing
After the release of his most famous novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, he was prosecuted for its obscenity again
Died on March 2nd, 1930 Plot Summary In London, Paul lives with his upper class but financially broken family. His wasteful mother Hester is a compulsive buyer, spending all the family money on new expensive dresses, jewels and objects for their home. His father Richard is a gambler, losing money in the horse races. His uncle Oscar is permanently covering the family debts. When the servant Bassett is hired, Paul finds that he can predict the winner of the horse races by rocking his wooden horse. Paul asks Bassett to become his partner. The two of them bet their money on the races. Paul wants to prove that he is lucky in order to silence the house, which perpetually whispers to him that it needs more money. Plot Summary Continued In reality, Paul just wants to earn the love of his mother, by being able to provide her with the money that she desperately wants. Paul becomes so obsessed with winning his bets on the horse races that he goes to his limit trying to find a winner by riding his horse furiously. He continues to the point that he falls off of his rocking horse. He hits is head and gets a brain fever. After telling his mother that he has finally become lucky, Paul dies. Symbolism The Rocking Horse - Pursuit of materialistic desires Irony Even though mother finally has money, she still isnt lucky and has lost her son to her selfishness. What is supposed to turn out lucky becomes a tragedy.
The ending is tragic irony as Paul died trying to please his mother by riding his rocking horse until he knew the winner
"'My god, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good and a poor devil of a son to the bad. '" (315) Fantasy Themes Characterization Paul- the only dynamic character in the story. Begins as a lovable boy, turns into a shell of himself and ultimately dies. Paul His age: At the start of the novel, he is very young because usually only young boys get rocking horses
It is odd that he still uses it when he is older (almost 13 as hinted when Lawrence mentions that he will go to Eton)
His mental state: Fragile, easily influenced, most likely not fully developed
His actions: Wants the love of his mother by giving her money and ending her "bad luck" Criticism This story explores the socio economic, religious, and symbolic themes of its era. Many critics highlight its Fruedian aspects in regards to the economic theries and spiritual allusions. (Definition of Freudian:the application of the theories of the personality developed by Freud to the development of characters and other aspects of artistic creation.)
Many people thought that the story had sexual themes due to Lawrence's style of writing MOVIE CLIP Works Cited The House and the whispers - Greed, the constant want for more Money - Symbolizes the awful truth that some people love it more than anything else (the mother) "Luck" - An excuse for people who can't understand that things don't always go their way (despite the fact that they have a lot of things going for them) Hester (the mother)- Static character, constant desire for more, the antagonist of the story. It is known that she doesn't love her children Oscar - The uncle, static, manipulative and doesn't care for Paul, only wants to abuse his ability to foresee the winner. Bassett - Gardener, static Themes Obsession
Much of what happens to their family stems from the Paul's and Hester's obsessions.
- Hester's obsession for more money makes it harder for Paul to satisfy her and finally get the motherly love he was seeking.
- Paul's obsession for betting is what leads to his eventual death. Obsession for betting runs through the family as Hester explained to Paul, " My family has been a gambling family, and you won't know till you grow up how much damage it has done." Wrong Sense of Values
Hester (the mother) makes living lavishly her chief goal in life and in marriage. Consequently, she doesn't care too much for her children or her husband.
- Her love of material goods surpasses her love of family and whenever she gets her hands on a little money, she spends beyond her means. For this reason, the house seems to always whisper the phrase, "there must be more money."
- Superficially, she appears to live a good life with servants and fancy furnishing, but on the inside her desire for more destroys the family. Opportunism
-Oscar Creswell and Basset know that betting makes Paul nervous, yet when Paul is dying yelling "Malabar!",
- "in spite of himself, Oscar Cresswell spoke to Bassett, and himself put a thousand on Malabar: at fourteen to one."
- In a sense, Paul has no real friends and Oscar and Bassett use him as a means to make money. "The Rocking-Horse Winner." : A Study Guide. CummingsStudyGuide, 04 May 2008. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides5/RockingHorse.html>.
LtGolub. "The Rocking Horse Winner (1949) - John Howard Davies (RIP) 1939-2011." YouTube. YouTube, 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbgsMDtSucs>.
"The Rocking-Horse Winner, D. H. Lawrence - Introduction." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Drew Kalasky. Vol. 19. Gale Cengage, 1995. eNotes.com. 15 Nov, 2012 <http://www.enotes.com/rocking-horse-winner-criticism/rocking-horse-winner-d-h-lawrence/introduction>
"D. H. Lawrence, 1885-1930." D. H. Lawrence, 1885-1930. The History Guide, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <http://www.historyguide.org/europe/lawrence.html>.
"D.H. Lawrence Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <http://www.biography.com/people/dh-lawrence-17175776?page=1>.
Perrine's Literature. N.p. : Earl McPeek, n.d. Print. Point of View Climax of Story The work is written in third person omniscient. This is for the author to show all sides of the characters and their thoughts, especially the complexity of how the mother outwardly seems affectionate towards her children yet in mind, doesn't love them or when she was quickly alerted internally that Paul might be in danger. Topics for Discussion Do you think "The Rocking Horse Winner" is relatable to Albert Camus' the Stranger?
Do you think the love of betting was hereditary?
Do you think after Paul's death his mother changed? We know that the meaning of the story is to show how we shouldn't have a materialistic society where we are obsessed with money. The work is written with simplistic sentences that brings the main point across. The story begins with "There was a woman who was beautiful" which almost triggers back to "One upon a time..." (306). Both setting the scene with a broad and simplistic manner and is continued always blunting saying what the story is about.
The work has a "magical" or non realistic element as well. When Paul seems to be riding on his horse for hours and hours searching for answers, this seems a little too "magical" for reality.
"The Rocking Horse Winner" employs fantasy to further the plot and allow for Lawrence's themes and tones to be more easily conveyed. An example of his fantasy is the house whispering.