The Rocking-horse Winner by D

The Rocking-horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence
Mrs. Caruso 10R
Name:_________________________________________________________________ Period_______
stealth n., act of proceeding secretly or imperceptibly. The government moves by stealth to gather information on
enemies of the state.
career vi., move at full speed. The sled careered down the ice-covered hill, but the three sisters dove off before hitting
the trees.
parry vt., reply in a clever or evasive way. When Rona interviewed for a job as a legal assistant, she tried to parry
questions about relevant experience, since she had none.
obscure adj., relatively unknown; not prominent or famous. The actor was obscure until his part in the hit movie.
uncanny adj., seeming to have an supernatural or mysterious character or origin. The mountain guide had an uncanny
sense of direction.
remonstrate vt., say in protest or object. He remonstrated that the shoes were uncomfortable, but his mother would
hear none of it.
1a. What "unspoken phrase" does the house come "to be haunted by"?
2a. How does Paul come to know that a horse will win a particular race? What does he have to do to gain
this knowledge?
3a. What happens as a result of Paul's winning the ten thousand and arranging to have half of it sent to his
4a. The images of whispering and keeping secrets run throughout "The Rocking-Horse Winner." Identify
the secrets kept by the mother and by Paul in this story.
5a. Paul believes that he is lucky, while his mother says that she and her husband are poor because they are
not lucky. Evaluate these ideas about luck. Do you agree that Paul is lucky? Why, or why not? Do you agree
that having enough money is a matter of luck? Why, or why not? What role does luck play in an individual's
success or happiness?
1b. Why do the mother and father in this story have too little money? What hints are provided in the story to
explain their continual need for money?
2b. What is the cost, to Paul, of getting to where the luck is?
3b. Receiving the five thousand pounds does not solve Paul's mother's problem. What point is Lawrence
making here? What is the real problem in the household?
4b. How would you characterize Paul's relationship with his mother? He says he does the horse betting for
his mother. Why would a small child want so desperately to get more money? Paul's frenzied rides on his
rocking horse are examples of the use of magical realism in this story. In magical realism, fantastical or
supernatural elements are treated as though they are realistic and often symbolize something else. What do
you think Paul's rides symbolize?
5b. Paul's mother, like D. H. Lawrence's mother, struggled to keep up appearances and live in a style that
required more money than the family had. Our modern phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" would indicate
that this struggle is still a problem in our society. In what ways have you seen this kind of struggle cause
Writer's Journal: Select one of these writing ideas and complete the entry in your journal.
1. Imagine that you are Paul and want to explain to your mother what you have been doing and why. Write
a personal letter to her, telling her what is in your heart, without any deception or secretiveness.
2. Imagine you are a newspaper reporter assigned to write an account of the strange death of young Paul.
As the reporter, you have interviewed Bassett, Uncle Oliver, and the boy's mother. From having read "The
Rocking-Horse Winner," infer what they might have been willing to tell you. Then write your newspaper
article about the death of Paul.