Questions on the Rocking Horse Winner

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The introduction of D.H. Lawrence’s The Rocking-horse Winner is pretty in its unadorned elegance of natural diction and structure. This, coupled with life-like character archetypes, emotionally engages the reader, and renders Hester round in a single paragraph. Generally, the paragraphs start with an axiom, and follow basic-cause and effect relationships, often paralleling a paraprosdokian compare then contrast form. This allows for very clear character, plot, and conflict development. While the story is often compared to a fairy tale, the author thinks it to be related more closely with a Brother’s Grimm tale; it has a fairytale element, a supernatural element, a menacing foreshadow generated through atmosphere, and a tragic end, revealing a tragic flaw and a theme. This style is well-suited to the story because of the theme and characters; Aesop’s Fables (stories often read by children), usually preach similar values to the bible. The Bible preaches that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” with greed being one of the seven deadly sins.

1. The narrative starts by stating that Hester was “beautiful,” and had “no luck.” This is a contentious statement as she is born into money, a privilege few enjoy, but she is clearly unlucky in that her “love turned to dust.” The rhyme “thrust” alludes to a common topic of Lawrence’s: intercourse. It is inferred that Hester’s love was lost because her husband found “fault in her” sexually. Humans are the sum of their experiences, and Hester, experiencing emotional pain, does what any intelligent person would do; she numbs the pain; she disconnects emotionally. Snodgrass references a letter of Lawrence’s arguing that a sexually unsatisfied woman looks to luxuries for fulfillment. Her life’s satisfaction begins to come from the keeping of “style,” a bottomless pit of hunger from which many “whispers” come.


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