The Rocking Horse Winner, a short story written by D.H. Lawrence, was first published in Harper’s Bazaar Magazine in 1926. The story takes place in England just after the First World War, most likely in or near London. The story is about a young boy named Paul, who had the special power of communicating with his wooden rocking horse to find the winning races. He desired to be loved by his mother, but the mother had an unhealthy fixation with materialism. The author tries to illustrate a criticism of a modernized world’s admiration and desire for material objects. In reading this story, the reader will find themes of neglect, faulty sense of values, and obsession.
The mother in the story is a character named Hester. She was a beautiful woman who married for love, but when the love ran dry, the focus of her marriage was of material possessions. Hester neglects her children, in this story particularly Paul, of the love and stability that he needs to become an emotionally and psychologically stable child.
Stylish living is the main goal of Hester’s marriage. She had always spend beyond her means when money came which led to her faulty sense of values. Though she had three children, of whom she did not love, they were treated more as objects of the home, like furniture. Because Hester overspends, there is a lengthy dept, and because of the dept, there is a constant anxiety that whispers throughout the home saying “there must be more money”.
Paul “inherited” the obsession of money from his mother, but the obsession is not for him, it is for his mother. Hester believed that luck was the key to becoming rich; therefore Paul wanted to prove that he had the luck that his father lacked. He believed that money would make his mother love him and that money would silence the whispers that ran through the house. His obsession for winning money for his mother drove him to great stress and mania that eventually killed him.