The Rocking-Horse Winner

The Interesting Id: A Freudian Analysis of the Mother Complex in Lawrence’s Works 12th Grade

A mother is arguably the most important figure in a child’s life, especially during his or her developmental stages. However, too much love, especially while a child is learning to bond, has the potential to create a mother complex and permanently damage a child’s psyche. This concept, popularized by Sigmund Freud at the turn of the twentieth century, is explored in numerous literary works, especially those of D.H. Lawrence. Through Sons and Lovers, “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,” and “Rocking Horse Winner,” Lawrence demonstrates how a mother complex, specifically one formed during a time of childhood trauma, results in a magnified Id.

The first example of this concept is Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers. His extremely close bond with Gertrude is borne of the traumatic events that transpire during his developmental years. His brother dies, and soon after he becomes deathly sick as well. During this time, both Paul’s mental and physical health are under duress, and the person who constantly tends to him is Gertrude. She is with him through his grave illness, creating a much more intricate bond than that of a normal mother-son relationship. The two are described as being “knitted together in perfect intimacy,” explicitly describing...

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