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The Rocking-Horse Winner Analysis

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Keanna Johnson



October 23rd 2015

The Rocking-horse Winner Analysis

In D.H. Lawrence’s Rocking-horse Winner he uses textual elements to help the audience decipher the message and theme of the story. The conflict that takes place aids in developing the theme and assisting the reader in comprehending the message being told in the story.

        The plot structure that occurs in The Rocking-horse Winner is chronological order, showing the reader what happens over the time span of the story. In the beginning of the story there is a mother who is rather distant from her children, “… when her children were present, she always felt the centre of her heart go hard” (28). Not only is she distant from her kids but her husband as well. As a result of a distant mother, Paul her son was sent on a personal mission to make his mother proud and love him but did not understand the cost of her happiness would have come in a form of a sacrifice. During Paul’s final rocking horse joyride he “ fell to the ground with a crash” where he ended up “unconscious… with some brain-fever”(36). It is at this point that we see that because Paul had wanted to be loved by his mother to make her happy he pushed himself to end but only after leaving his family with his earnings from the horseraces, in his final attempt of overcoming his internal conflict.

Internal and external conflicts are both seen in the Rocking-horse Winner and stem from the reoccurring issue of not having enough money in the house. The internal conflict that occurs is Paul strives to make his mom happy and to be loved but is incapable of achieving this because of her of her lack of luck and her materialistic desires clouding what is important. It almost as I the internal conflict is caused by the external factors. “As his mother read it, her face hardened and became expressionless…she hid the letter under a pile of others, and said not a word about it” (33). At this point it is clear that no amount of money would ever fulfill the needs of the mother at least. Paul being young and naïve still hoped to overcome his failures and make his mother proud.

        Lawrence uses the most traditional form of writing, third person omniscient to get through his story and message to his audience. This allows the reader to hear from the minds of all characters and not be subjected just to one. The beginning and most of the story is told surrounding Paul, his thoughts, feelings, and what is happening around him. “ The boy saw she did not believe him; or rather that she that she paid no attention to his assertion. This angered him somewhere…”(29). Due to the fact that Paul is who the story is based around its only natural that the audience hears more from, and about him. A key point to the story is when Paul’s mother who is constantly being described as cold hearted towards her children as well as her family. Near the end of the story there is a different side of the mother that is being projected while she is in town at a party, that is the opposite of what had been said about her previously.  “… her rushes of anxiety about her boy, her first born, gripped her heart till she could hardly speak. She fought with the feeling… she had to leave the dance and go downstairs to telephone to the country” (35). Without third person omniscient the audience would not have known about the phone call at all unless Paul was involved. The narrator made it accessible to add in any necessary characters words, thoughts or feelings that could help tell the story.



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