Critical Analysis of "The Rocking-Horse Winner"
In the short story "The Rocking Horse-Winner" by D. H. Lawrence it is illustrated that money cannot buy happiness. The short story displays the way people allow money to control their lives. The passage includes the literary devices; character development, contrast, suspense and dramatic irony. "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is written giving the omniscient point of view. The thoughts and motives of all of the characters are told when D. H. Lawrence finds suitable. The writer of the passage on "The Rocking-Horse Winner" is K. McGuire.
Insight is offered in the passage about the protagonist of the story who is the young boy. Character development takes place in the short passage. "He went off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way seeking for the clue to "luck". He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it. ...he would sit on his big rocking-horse, charging madly into space."
In these quotes from the passage the character has changed from acting in a childish manner to a franticly riding a rocking-horse, like a madman. Definite development has occurred to the character who is the protagonist because I observed this character has a clearly defined goal, which is to obtain luck.
"When the two girls were playing dolls in the nursery he would sit ... charging madly into space, with a Frenzy that made the little girls peer at him uneasily." This quote epitomizes the concept of contrast. It displays a juxtaposition of emotion because you first see the two girls who symbolize innocence and goodness playing appropriately with their dolls. You are then introduced to the boy who rides a horse (symbol for sex) intensely focused on his quest for luck (symbol in this story for money). The girls are the opposite of the boy and this is immensely entertained for me, the reader.
Suspense is created throughout the passage by the interesting plot which pulls you into a deeper anxious interest of discovering the outcome of the story. "Absorbed, taking no heed of other people... seeking inwardly for luck... his eyes had a strange glare in them. The little girls dared not to speak to him." These examples from the text are written demonstrating a cliff-hanger effect. The element of fear is present in the little girls towards the boy and fear always makes for high-quality suspense.
Dramatic irony is shown in the passage and in the short story. "...seeking inwardly for luck. He wanted luck, he wanted it, he wanted it. ... he would sit on his big rocking-horse, charging madly into space." This collection of quotes from the passage displays the hunger the boy had for obtaining luck. He would stop at nothing to be lucky and in his case this meant he would not stop riding his horse until he had the name of a horse that would bring him luck. The luck the horses names would bring him consisted of money, he had to have to please his mother. It is dramatic irony that the one thing the boy strived so persistently to obtain is also the one thing that killed him. The boy madly rode his rocking-horse until his mother discovered him in one of his Frenzies, which is when he collapsed. The last word of his life uttered was the concept that brought him death, "I am lucky"! This is an example of dramatic irony because the character believes the luck, the money, that is won at the races will bring happiness to his mother, his home. However, I, the reader, know that the more money that is made only provides a bigger appetite for the craving of money the house desires.
Dramatic irony, suspense, contrast, and character development all play pivotal roles in making the short story "The Rocking-Horse Winner" the classic that it is today. Had the boy not grew to yearn so deeply to please his mother, he may have lived. Had the story not been so suspenseful I may have not wanted to read the ending. Had there not been such a fantastic twist, as him getting the one thing he worked so hard to obtain then dying, I may not have enjoyed the short story! It was a brilliant story emphasizing the themes: luck drives the boy to death and money cannot buy happiness.