Psychological Analysis of Rocking Horse Winner

http://www. cummingsstudyguides. net/Guides5/RockingHorse. html Type of Work and Narration ……. “The Rocking-Horse Winner” is a short story that incorporates elements of the fable, the fantasy, and the fairy tale. Like a fable, it presents a moral (although it does so subtly, without preachment). Like a fantasy, it presents chimerical events (the boy’s ability to foretell the winners of horse races, the whispering house). Like a fairy tale, it sets the scene with simple words like those in a Mother Goose story: “There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.

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She married for love, and the love turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them. . . . There were a boy and two little girls. They lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants, and felt themselves superior to anyone in the neighbourhood. ” ……. D. H. Lawrence wrote the story in omniscient third-person point of view, enabling him to reveal the thoughts of the characters. Publication Dates ……. “The Rocking-Horse Winner” first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar magazine in July 1926.

Hutchinson & Company then published it in London later in the same year in a collection entitled Ghost Stories. In January 1933, Martin Secker published the story in London in another collection, The Lovely Lady. Viking Press in New York published The Lovely Lady later in the same year. Themes Neglect ……. In her preoccupation with material things, Hester neglects to provide Paul the love he needs to develop into a normal, mentally stable child. Faulty Sense of Values ……. Hester makes stylish living the chief goal of her marriage.

Consequently, her relationship with her husband and the care and nurture of her children—in particular, Paul—stagnate. Whenever money becomes available, she spends beyond her means. Though she and her husband rear their children in a “pleasant house” with servants and a nurse, they seem to regard them as objects for display, like the furnishings in the home. Hester’s spending and indebtedness create anxiety that haunts the house and personifies itself by repeatedly whispering the phrase: “There must be more money. ” Obsession …….

Lust for material objects, stylish living, and money so obsesses Paul’s mother that she neglects Paul and his sisters. Paul then “inherits” her obsession. But he wants to win money for his mother, not for himself, in order to prove that he has the luck that his father lacks. Having luck and money will make him lovable to his mother, he apparently believes, and silence the house voices. When he discovers that the five thousand pounds he sets aside for her is not enough to achieve his goals, he becomes obsessed with winning more.

His mania ultimately kills him. Opportunism ……. Oscar Creswell acknowledges that Paul’s wagering makes him nervous. But rather than take steps to stop Paul, he encourages him and asks for tips on winning horses. When Paul lies deathly ill muttering the name of his pick for the Derby, Oscar runs off “in spite of himself” and places a bet on the horse at fourteen to one odds. Quest ……. Paul rides his rocking horse like a knight on a quest. He seeks a great prize, luck, that will enable him to win money wagering on horses.

His winnings will free his mother from a great monster, indebtedness, that consumes all of her attention. Once free, she will be able to turn her attention to Paul and give him the greatest prize of all: love. Deceit In the first paragraph of the story, the narrator says Hester does not love her children. Nevertheless, outwardly she pretends to love them, and people say, “She is a good mother. She adores her children. ” Nonverbal Communication ……. Much of the communication in the story comes through the eyes.

For example, on the question of whether the mother loves her children, the narrator says in the first paragraph that “only she herself, and her children themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each other’s eyes. ” Regarding the house voices, the narrator says, “They would look into each other’s eyes, to see if they had all heard. And each one saw in the eyes of the other two that they too had heard. ” After Paul tells his mother early in the story that he is lucky, the narrator says, “The boy saw she did not believe him; or rather, that she paid no attention to his assertion. In describing Paul, the narrator frequently focuses on the boy’s eyes to communicate a mood or a meaning, as in these passages: .. 1…. The boy watched her [his mother] with unsure eyes. .. 2…. Wildly the horse careered, the waving dark hair of the boy tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in them. .. 3…. But Paul only gave a blue glare from his big, rather close-set eyes. .. 4…. “Well, I got there! ” he announced fiercely, his blue eyes still flaring, and his sturdy long legs straddling apart. .. 5….

The boy gazed at his uncle from those big, hot, blue eyes, set rather close together. .. 6…. The child had never been to a race-meeting before, and his eyes were blue fire. .. 7…. The child, flushed and with eyes blazing, was curiously serene. .. 8…. The boy watched him with big blue eyes, that had an uncanny cold fire in them, and he said never a word. .. 9…. He became wild-eyed and strange, as if something were going to explode in him. 10…. “I’ve got to know for the Derby! ” the child reiterated, his big blue eyes blazing with a sort of madness. 1… But the child lifted his uncanny blue eyes. 12…. His eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second, as he ceased urging his wooden horse. 13…. He neither slept nor regained consciousness, and his eyes were like blue stones. ……. Of the rocking horse, the narrator says, “When he [Paul] had ridden to the end of his mad little journey, he climbed down and stood in front of his rocking-horse, staring fixedly into its lowered face. Its red mouth was slightly open, its big eye was wide and glassy-bright. ” …….

The narrator also tells the reader that “[t]he gardener, a shortish fellow with a little brown moustache and sharp little brown eyes, tiptoed into the room, touched his imaginary cap to Paul’s mother, and stole to the bedside, staring with glittering, smallish eyes at the tossing, dying child. ” ……. D. H. Lawrence’s attention to the eyes helps to convey the inmost feelings of characters in some instances. In other instances, it enhances the mysterious and sometimes unsettling atmosphere of the story by leaving open to question what a gaze or a stare means.

In addition, it correctly calls attention to the fact that a good deal of communication between human beings is nonverbal and that glaring eyes, frowns, furrowed brows, and shrugs can sometimes communicate more meaning than words. http://www. megaessays. com/viewpaper/24591. html Through this psychosomatic approach, one is able to allow the possibility of understanding and gathering the in depth insights of literature. Ultimately, in doing this, it allows one to try and make sense of what every so often may seem odd and/or puzzling.

Overall, it is fair to say that the key purpose of psychological criticism is simply trying to comprehend why many times people do and say things for motives that they themselves are not frequently aware of. In many ways D. H. Lawrence’s story, “The Rocking-Horse Winner” deals with the quite dissimilar feelings and views of the two main characters, mother and son. Throughout the story, it is clear that the mother focuses mainly on her unhappiness with her life, particularly that she does not have all the money she desires. This is apparent in the point of the story where she mentions to her son “I used to think.

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