The Rocking-Horse Winner

rocking-horse winnerSome s have said that this story by D. H. Lawrence is an example of the perfect short story. It tells of a boy whose parents love money and their social position more than their children. The boy desperately wants his mother’s love and , and would seemingly go to any lengths to win it.

Pre-Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

A is a toy horse for children that either has a d bottom or s forwards and backwards, as in the picture above. The other words and expressions in our Pre-Intermediate level Simplified English story which are not in our 1200 word list are: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Intermediate Vocabulary Help / Exercises

The words and expressions in our Intermediate Level Simplified English story which are not in our 1800 word list are: , , as , , , conscious, , , , , , gamble, , , jockey, lifestyle, nerves, , , partner, , pyjamas, , , , , whip, whisper, and .

There is also a very common in the story: is worth two in the bush. Finally, there are two words that are in our Intermediate word list but have a meaning in the story which is different to the one most commonly used:

  • We are told that as Paul watched his first ever race meeting, his eyes were blue fire and he pursed his mouth tight. Here the word means to press your lips into a tight circle or line, usually because you are angry on concentrating on something.
  • When Oscar first asks Basset if Paul ever bets, Basset answers: “I don’t want to give him away. He’s a young sport, a fine sport, sir. Would you mind asking him?” In this case the word is a friendly way of addressing someone.

General Comments on the Story

The Rocking-Horse Winner can be looked at on a number of levels. At the most basic level, it is a story of a boy (Paul) searching for identity and love, whose death teaches his mother that family should always come before material things. However, it seems highly unlikely that D.H. Lawrence would write a story with such a simple message. He is recognized as being one of the first modern writers to human sexuality and in his works. On this level, the Rocking-Horse Winner could be looked at as a . Many critics have suggested that Paul is described as suffering from an and that, as he is entering , riding his rocking-horse could be for acts of .

But there could be an even darker message. Paul’s father seems to have almost nothing to do with him, while Uncle Oscar (his mother’s brother) shows a lot of interest in Paul’s life. When addressing Paul in the story, Oscar calls him by name only once and uses the familiar term “son” thirteen times. Could this be a suggestion that Oscar is really Paul’s father?


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(n: critic pl critics) Someone, usually an expert, whose job it is to give opinions about books, movies, or other forms of art . (นักวิจารณ์) 2000

(n: approval pl approvals) The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable; a good opinion of someone or something (การรับรอง) 2000

rocking-horse(n: rocking horse pl rocking horses) A toy horse for children that either has a curved bottom or swings forwards and backwards. (ม้าโยกไม้สำหรับเด็กนั่งเล่น)

curve(n: curve pl curves) A smooth, rounded line, shape, path, etc., like part of the edge of a circle. (เส้นโค้ง) 4000

swing(v: swing, swings, swung, swinging) 1. To move backward and forward or from side to side while hanging from something. The children were swinging on a rope hanging from a tree. 2. To (cause to) move or sway in a curve (from side to side, forwards and backwards or up and down) from a fixed point. You swing your arms when you walk. The gate swung open. (แกว่ง) 3000

bet(n: bet pl bets) An agreement in which people try to guess what will happen and the person who guesses wrong has to give something [such as money] to the person who guesses right. (การพนัน)
(v: bet, bets, bet, betting) To make a bet; to risk losing something [such as money] if your guess about what will happen is wrong. (พนัน) 1000

cheek(n: cheek pl cheeks) One of the parts of the face below each eye and to the side of the nose and mouth. (แก้ม) 3000

conscious(adj: conscious) Awake and able to understand what is happening around you. (ที่รู้สึกตัว)
(adj: unconscious) Not awake and able to understand what is happening around you, especially because of an injury, drug, etc. (หมดสติ) 2000

crash(v: crash, crashes, crashed, crashing) 1. To damage something (such as a car) by causing it to hit something. She crashed the car into a tree, but no one was hurt. (การชนกัน) 2. To make a loud noise by falling, hitting something, etc. The glass crashed to the floor. (ตกลงพร้อมเสียงดัง) 3000

deal with(phrasal verb: deal with) 1. To be about (something). The book deals with World War II. (เกี่ยวข้องกับ) 2. To do something about a person or thing that causes a problem or difficult situation. She deals with inquiries and complaints. (จัดการ) 3. To accept or try to accept something that cannot be changed. She's still trying to deal with his death. (อดทน)

explode(v: explode, explodes, exploded, exploding) 1. To suddenly break apart with a loud noise, sending parts flying outward. (ระเบิด) 2. To move with sudden speed and force. The race horses exploded out of the starting gate. (เกิดขึ้นในทันทีทันใด)
(n: explosion pl explosions) The act of exploding. (การปะทุ) 3000

forward(v: forward, forwards, forwarded, forwarding) to send (letters, e-mails etc) on to another address. I have asked the post office to forward my mail. (ส่งต่อไปยังที่อยู่อื่น)
(adj: forward) 1. Moving or directed ahead or toward the front. A sudden forward movement. (โดยไปข้างหน้า) 2. Near or belonging to the front part of something. The forward part of a ship is called the 'bows'. (โดยอยู่ข้างหน้า)
(adv: forward or forwards) Moving towards the front. (ก้าวหน้า) 1000

gamble(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own; to bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. (เสี่ยงโชค) 3000

(adv: hardly) Barely; almost not. Used to say that something was almost not possible or almost did not happen. My feet are so sore, I can hardly walk. (เกือบจะไม่) 2000

commerce(n: income pl incomes) Money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc. He cannot support his family on his income. (รายได้) 1000

jockey(n: jockey pl jockeys) A person whose job is to ride horses in races. (นักขี่ม้าแข่งอาชีพ) 5000

joke(n: joke pl jokes) Something said or done to cause laughter. She meant it as a joke, but some people took her seriously. I heard a funny joke yesterday. (เรื่องตลก) 2000

lifestyles(n: lifestyle pl lifestyles) A particular way of living; the way a person lives or a group of people live. She had an expensive lifestyle. Eating right and exercising are essential to living a healthy lifestyle. (วิถีทางการดำเนินชีวิต) 4000

master(n: master pl masters) 1. A person who has become very skilled at doing something. (คนมีฝีมือ) 2. Someone who has control or power over others. (ผู้ควบคุม) 3. A polite title for a boy. (คำนำหน้าชื่อเด็กผู้ชาย) 2000

nerves(n: nerves, noncount) The medical condition known today as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GDA), characterized by uncontrollable and often unnecessary worry about common occurrences and situations. (ความเครียด) 2000

nervous(adj: nervous) Having or showing feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen. (กระวนกระวาย; เครียด)
(adv: nervously) In a nervous way. (อย่าง ประหม่า) 3000

partner(n: partner pl partners) Someone who participates in an activity or game with another person. (ผู้ร่วมมือ) 2000

pyjamas(n: pyjamas or pajamas, plural) Clothing that people wear in bed or while relaxing at home, usually consisting of loose-fitting trousers and a jacket. (ชุดนอน) 6000

(adv: rather) 1. To a certain extent; slightly; a little. (ค่อนข้าง) 2. Preferably; used to indicate what you want or prefer to do, have, etc. (มากกว่า) 1000

religion(n: religion pl religions) 1. A belief in, or the worship of, a god or group of gods. (ความเชื่อในศาสนา) 2. A particular system of belief or worship. (ศาสนา)
(adj: religious) 1. Of or relating to religion. 2. Deeply concerned with the beliefs and practice of a religion. (เกี่ยวกับศาสนา) 2000

gold reserves(n: reserve pl reserves) A supply of something that is stored so that it can be used at a later time. Gold/oil reserves; a cash reserve. ( สิ่งที่สำรองไว้) 2000

scream(v: scream, screams, screamed, screaming) 1. To suddenly cry out in a loud and high voice because of fear, pain, surprise, etc. 2. To say something in a loud and high voice because you are angry, afraid, etc. (กรีดร้อง) 3000

secret(adj: secret) Kept hidden from others; known to only a few people. (ความลับ)
(n: secret pl secrets) A fact or piece of information that is kept hidden from other people. Their marriage is a secret. (เก็บเป็นความลับ) 2000

servant(n: servant pl servants) Someone who is hired to do household or personal duties [such as cleaning and cooking]. (คนรับใช้) 1000

serve(v: serve, serves, served, serving) 1. To be suitable for a purpose. This wooden box will serve as a seat. (เหมาะสมกับจุดประสงค์) 2. To give food or drink to someone at a meal or help a customer in a shop. The waiter served our meals quickly. (บริการอาหาร) 3. To hold a particular job, office, etc. He served in the army during the war. (ปฏิบัติหน้าที่) 1000

shake(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. (สั่น) 2000

silence(n: silence, noncount) 1. [A period of time] when there is no sound. The teacher asked for silence in the room. I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. (ความเงียบ)
(adj: silent) Used to describe someone or something that is not making noise. (เงียบ)
(adv: silently) In a silent way. (อย่างเงียบ ๆ) 3000

whip(n: whip pl whips) A long cord or piece of leather attached to a handle, used for driving horses and forcing farm animals to move or work. (แส้) 3000

whisper(n: whisper pl whispers) A very quiet sound, especially something said. (การกระซิบ; การส่งเสียงเบา ๆ)
(v: whisper, whispers, whispered, whispering) To speak or say something very softly. (กระซิบ) 5000

amuse(n: amusement pl amusements) 1. The state or feeling of finding something funny. She watched with a smile of amusement. (ความขบขัน) 2. Something [such as an activity] that entertains or gives pleasure to someone. He has several holiday amusements. (กิจกรรมที่ให้ความบันเทิง) 3000

anxiety(n: anxiety pl anxieties) Fear or nervousness about what might happen; unease. (ความวิตกกังวล) 4000

(adv: sure as eggs; also as sure as eggs are/is eggs.) [idiom] Something that you say when you are certain about what is going to happen or what someone will do. He'll be back again next week asking for more money, sure as eggs is eggs.

beyond(prep: beyond) 1. On the other side of. My house is just beyond those trees. (ที่อยู่ไกลออกไป) 2. Farther on than something in time or place. I cannot plan beyond tomorrow. (ที่ไกลกว่า) 3. To a degree or amount greater than; out of the range, power etc of. He is beyond help. (เลยออกไป) 4. Other than; in addition to. What is there to say beyond what's already been said? (นอกจาก) 2000

confuse(v: confuse, confuses, confused, confusing) To make someone uncertain or unable to understand something. (ทำให้สับสน) 2000
(n: confusion pl confusions) The feeling that you have when you do not understand what is happening, what is expected, etc.

corridor(n: corridor pl corridors) A long, narrow passage inside a building with doors that lead to rooms on each side; also called a hall or hallway. (ทางเดินยาวนตึก) 3000

delight(v: delight, delights, delighted, delighting) 1. To please greatly. I was delighted by the good news. (ทำให้ดีใจ) 2. To have or take great pleasure from something. He delights in beating me at chess. (พอใจ)
(n: delight pl delights) A strong feeling of happiness. (ความยินดี)
(adj: delightful) Causing delight. (น่าปิติยินดี) 2000

disturb(v: disturb, disturbs, disturbed, disturbing) 1. To stop (someone) from working, sleeping, etc.; to interrupt or bother someone or something. (รบกวน) 2. To worry or upset someone; to trouble emotionally or mentally. (ทำให้วุ่นวาย) 3000

faint(v: faint, faints, fainted, fainting) To feel weak or tired and suddenly fall down and become unconscious. (เป็นลม)
(adj: faint, fainter, faintest) 1. Feeling weak or tired, as if you are going to fall down. (อ่อนกำลัง) 2. Not clearly seen, heard, tasted, felt, etc. (จาง) 3000

fierce(adj: fierce) 1. Very violent and likely to fight. (ดุร้าย) 2. Very strong or intense; having or showing a lot of strong emotion. (รุนแรง) 3000

in spite of(phrase: in spite of) Without being prevented by; despite. Used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true. (ถึงแม้ว่า) 2000
(phrase: in spite of myself) Used to say that you do or feel something even though you do not want or expect to do or feel it. I ended up having a good time in spite of myself.

insist(v: insist, insists, insisted, insisting) 1. To demand that something happen or that someone do something. (ยืนกราน) 2. To state, emphasize, or hold firmly to an opinion, plan etc. in a way that is very forceful and does not allow disagreement. (ยืนยัน) 3000

nod(v: nod, nods, nodded, nodding) 1. To move your head up and down as a way of answering 'yes' or of showing agreement, understanding, or approval. 2. To move your head up and down as a signal to someone or as a way of saying hello or goodbye to someone. (พยักหน้า) 3000

pale(adj: pale, paler, palest) Having a skin color that is closer to white than is usual or normal, either because it is your natural color or you are sick or scared at the time. (ซีด) 3000

pup(n: pup pl pups) A young dog, especially one less than a year old (also called a puppy); a young animal of certain other species (such as seals). (ลูกหมา) 5000

rush(v: rush rushes, rushed, rushing) To move or do something very quickly or in a way that shows you are in a hurry. (รีบเร่ง) 2000

tense(adj: tense, tenser, tensest) Nervous and not able to relax. (ตึงเครียด)
(n: tense pl tenses) In English grammar, a form of a verb that shows the time of its action in relation to the time of speaking. (กาล) 3000

tip(n: tip pl tips) 1. The small or thin end, point or top of something. (จุดปลายสุด) 2. A gift of money given to someone such as a waiter etc. for good service. (เงินตอบแทนการบริการ). 3. A piece of useful information given by a person who has special knowledge about something; a hint. (เกร็ดความรู้) 2000

uneasy(adj: uneasy) Worried or unhappy about something; troubled, anxious, unsettled. (ซึ่งไม่สบายใจ) 3000

wound(n: wound pl wounds) An injury that is caused when a knife, bullet, etc., cuts or breaks the skin. (บาดแผล) 3000

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. (สุภาษิต) 6000

bird in the hand(proverb: a bird in the hand) A benefit available now is more valuable than some possibly larger future benefit.
This comes from an ancient Greek proverb: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Bob thinks he will get more money by changing jobs. His wife thinks he should stay, saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

(n: purse pl purses) A small bag for carrying money. (กระเป๋าใส่เงินขนาดเล็ก)
(v: purse, purses, pursed, pursing) To press your lips into a tight circle or line, usually because you are angry on concentrating on something. (เม้มปาก) 3000

money purse pursed lips

sport(n: sport pl sports) 1. A contest or game involving physical activity that is done for competition or enjoyment. (กีฬา) 2. A good-natured and helpful person; used as a friendly way to address someone (especially a man). He's a good sport to agree to do that for us! (ผู้ที่มีน้ำใจนักกีฬา) 2000

(v: explore, explores, explored, exploring) To travel over or through (a place) in order to learn more about it or to find something. 2. To examine (something) carefully and talk or think about (something) in a thoughtful and detailed way.(สำรวจ) 4000

(n: instinct pl instincts) 1. A way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is not learned; a natural desire or tendency that makes you want to act in a particular way. 2. Something you know without learning it or thinking about it. (สัญชาตญาณ) 4000

(adj: psychological) Of or relating to the mind or the study of the mind; related to the science of psychology. (เกี่ยวกับจิต) 2000

fantasy(n: fantasy pl fantasies) 1. Something that is produced by the imagination; an idea about doing something that is far removed from normal reality. 2. A book, movie, etc. that tells a story about things that happen in an imaginary world. (การจินตนาการ) 5000

(n: Oedipus Complex) In psychology, a sexual desire that a child (especially a boy) feels toward the parent of the opposite sex along with jealous feelings toward the parent of the same sex. (ปมใจ)

(n: puberty, noncount) The time when a child's body becomes sexually mature and he or she becomes able to produce children. (วัยแรกรุ่น) 7000

symbolism(n: symbolism, noncount) In literature, where a real object is used to stand for a thought, idea or feeling. The dove is the symbol of peace. (ด้วยสัญลักษณ์) 3000

(n: masturbation, noncount) Touching or rubbing your own sexual organs for sexual pleasure. (การสำเร็จความใคร่) 9000

A full-length (91 minute) movie version of the story. We only stream videos of less 30 minutes on our website. To download the mp4, click here.
A 30 minute film adaption of the story produced by the Learning Corporation of America. To watch online, click here. To download the mp4, click here.

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