The Rocking-Horse Winner

The Rocking-Horse Winner Imagery

House and Toys

Early in the story after we hear of how the house whispers for want of money, we see how specifically for the children this silent whispering seems to animate their toys. The rocking-horse, dolls, and toy puppy are all frighteningly anthropomorphized, so that they seem to be representatives of the social consciousness which laughs at Paul's family and urges them on to further consumption. It is significant that this is a specifically human worry that they have, and yet it is in another sense an inhuman feeling which runs directly counter to feelings of familial love.

Paul's Blue Fiery Eyes

In contrast to his mother's stoniness and bitterness, Paul seems to burst with a sort of uncanny child's energy. Whenever he rides his rocking-horse in order to ascertain the winner of a race, his already intense blue eyes gain even more intensity with a sort of violent force. It is this physical sign of his in particular which disturbs his sisters and other family members, although just as with the whispering of the house, none of them say anything about it - until it is too late and the passion has consumed Paul.

Paul's Early Conversation with His Mother about Luck

When Paul, with a typical child's curiosity and straightforwardness, asks his mother about their family's economic standing, she deflects most of his questions with fatalistic remarks about not being lucky, rather than trying to soothe his anxieties. It is this nonchalance of hers, in a sense, which drives him to claim that God has told him that he is lucky, in an attempt to break through her stoniness and speak with the spirit he can see behind the front his mother is putting up for all. The simple yet intense description of how Paul looks to his mother's facial expressions shows the penetrating insight he has as a child.

Paul's Mother Sees Paul riding His Horse

It is a sort of painful irony that Paul and his mother become the closest they have ever been in the scene of his self-destruction. Paul's mother has come abruptly from a party because of a danger to her son which she has sensed. In the moment that she turns on the light in Paul's room, she and Paul are visually united: Lawrence writes that the light lights up the two of them, her in her green dress and him in his green pajamas. This union reaches its climax with a look Paul gives her before he collapses.