The Rocking Horse Winner

D.H. Lawrence


D.H. Lawrence wrote this in the 1930ís. It was a very conservative time back then, and alot of deep issues could not be discussed in books. So Lawrence wrote about alot of sexual type stuff through symbolism.


Master Paul: He is the main dude in the story. He is a young kid, and loves horse racing.

Bassett: A gardener who knows Paul and places bets for him (because Paul is a young kid).

Oscar Creswell: Paulís uncle who takes him to the races.


This kid Paul lives in a family that is poor. The mother is always bitching about how they donít have money. Paul loves to ride his rocking horse and fantasizes about the horse races. Then his Uncle Oscar takes him to the races. Paul tells him what horses to bet on. He tells his Uncle that he and his friend Bassett bet all the time and have lots of money. Uncle Oscar doesnít believe him (because he is just a young kid). Then they go to the races and Paul picks the winners and he, Bassett and his uncle become stinkin rich. Paul wants to give the money to his mom, but doesnít want her to know that it is from him. So Uncle Oscar deposits it into the family bank account as a birthday gift and says it is from a distant relative. Uncle Oscar set it up so she would receive 1000 pounds ($2,000 roughly) every year for 5 years. But when Paulís mom finds out about it, she asks for it all upfront because she is in debt. Throughout this whole thing Paul hears voices coming from the house. The voices yell about how the family needs more money (the kid is a little psycho).

Paul goes to boarding school and in the summer he returns. Then he goes a bit nuts. His mom wants to send him to the beach, but Paul doesnít want to go to the beach until after the Derby (big horse race). Paul still rides his rocking horse (even though heís a bit too old for it). He has to ride it to pick a winner in the Derby. Then Paul gets sick (mentally and physically). Paulís mom worries about him. One day at a party she feels like something is wrong back home (motherly instinct). She goes home and catches Paul riding the rocking horse in the dark. Then he shouts out the name of the horse he will bet on (Malabar). Then he, Bassett and Uncle Oscar put tons of money on Malabar. Malabar wins the race and Paul is a rich dude. He then goes absolutely nuts and starts yelling about how he needed his rocking horse to pick the winner. He also babbles on about luck and money. Unfortunately, he dies in the end.


  • A main issue in this story is greed. The mom really doesnít care about her kids, and just cares about money. So Paul is really concerned about getting money. He needs to get money to get his momís love.
  • There is a big point in this story about luck and money. The mom has a big speech in the beginning about how lucky people are always rich. Then in the end, Paul tells her he is a lucky one.
  • There is a bunch of sexual innuendo in this book. Remember Lawrence (author) couldnít openly talk about sleazy stuff back then. The rocking horse is a metaphor for masturbation.
  • The description of the boy riding the rocking horse is very sexual and sounds like heís jacking off.
  • There is another way to analyze this story in terms of the kidís luck. It appears like he made a deal with the devil for his soul. He picks the winning horse every time, but he dies in the end.