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Rocking Horse Winner
The Hidden Truth
The plot in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence reveals to the reader conflicts between Paul and his mother using different levels or forms of secrecy. There are secrets hidden throughout the house that leads Paul and his mother to an unpleasant life. The first level of secrecy is the actual secrets that Paul and Paul's mother keep from each other. The second form of secrecy is that D. H. Lawrence uses a story telling style of writing. This way of writing in itself holds many secrets. Finally, the third level of secrecy is through the use of symbolism.
Paul's mother tries to show others that she is a good mother even though "at the center of her heart [is] a hard place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody" (Lawrence 524). The children know their mother has this block for love and it is Paul's goal to find love from his mother. His mother's only obsession is to have money. According to W. R. Martin Paul's mother feels that if she has money her problems will disappear and she can obtain that "high social class" she does not deserve to be in (65). This adds conflict because there is a child that is neglected by his mother and a mother who is only interested in herself and the social class she lives in.
Paul's secrets add conflict in the story because the secrets separate him and his mother and eventually lead him to his death. Paul rides a wooden rocking horse that his parents gave to him as a gift. While riding a voice will sometimes magically whisper the next week's winner in the upcoming horse races. Without his mother knowing, Paul will ask the young gardener, Bassett, to place bets on horse races behind her back. Then he gives his mother all the money that he earns hoping it will solve her problems. There is a miscommunication problem between Paul and his mother because Paul is able to gamble behind her back. Paul also hears the cry, "there must be more money" echoing through the house's walls (Lawrence 525). "Paul . . . takes upon himself the intolerable burden of attempting to solve mother's 'problem' . . . the lack of money" (Jinkins 88). He takes this challenge hoping to receive his mother's love in return. Instead Paul rides himself to his death because he is unable to meet his "devouring" mother's needs (Jinkins 89).
D. H. Lawrence also shows conflict between Paul and his mother through a second level of secrecy. He writes the story using the style of story telling or a fantasy style of writing. "The Rocking-Horse Winner" starts off with "there was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust" (Lawrence 524). According to Junkins "mother is the poor, unsatisfied fairy princess who yearns for happiness; Paul is the gallant knight on horseback who rides to her rescue" (88). Lawrence uses this form of story telling to show the reader the conflict Paul has when trying to win his mother's love by giving her riches.
Lawrence uses a third type of secrecy that deals with symbolism. There is a short passage where Paul's mother comes to a realization of what Paul has been doing with his rocking horse. This passage starts off by mother "switch[ing] on the light . . . [S]uddenly [it] lit him up . . . and lit her up, as she stood . . . in the doorway" (Lawrence 534). This lighting of the room caused Paul's mother to see her son in his madly sense of desire to make it to his lucky place, and hear the secrets Paul has been hearing all along (Martin 64). In this quote, Lawrence also refers to the rocking horse as a wooden horse. It was mentioned earlier in the story as a wooden horse, but only as a detail note. Now when Lawrence refers to the rocking horse as wooden Lawrence symbolizes the toy horse as being Paul. The wooden horse could become reality like the horses Paul has been betting on, but there are springs that are holding the toy horse down, keeping it in place (Martin 65). The springs keeping the horse down
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The Rocking-Horse Winner, Secrecy, D. H. Lawrence, Secrets, Rocking horse, Paul the Apostle, rocking horse winner, wooden rocking horse, w r martin, unpleasant life, hidden truth, horse races, d h lawrence, good mother, miscommunication, secrecy, gardener, symbolism, obsession, bets, conflicts, conflict, parents, heart, love, money
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