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.

English Learner Vocabulary Help

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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 explore human sexuality and instinct in his works. On this level, the Rocking-Horse Winner could be looked at as a psychological fantasy. Many critics have suggested that Paul is described as suffering from an and that, as he is entering puberty, riding his rocking-horse could be for acts of masturbation.

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. 2000

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

curve(n: curve pl curves) A smooth, rounded line, shape, path, etc., like part of the edge of a circle. 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.
(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. 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. 3000

conscious(adj: conscious) Awake and able to understand what is happening around you.
(adj: unconscious) Not awake and able to understand what is happening around you, especially because of an injury, drug, etc. 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. 2. To make a loud noise by falling, hitting something, etc. The glass crashed to the floor. 3000

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

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

forward(adj: forward) 1. Moving or directed ahead or toward the front. A forward movement. 2. Near or belonging to the front part of something. The forward part of a ship is the 'bow'.
(adv: forward or forwards) 1. Moving ahead or towards the front. He moved forwards. 2. To a later time. From this time forward. 1000

gamble(v: gamble, gambles, gambled, gambling) 1. To play a game in which you can win or lose money or other things you own. 2. To bet money or other valuable things on an outcome, such as a horse race. 3000

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

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

jockey(n: jockey pl jockeys) A person whose job is to ride horses in races. 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. 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. 4000

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

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

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

partner(n: partner pl partners) Someone who participates in an activity or game with another person. 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. 6000

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

religion(n: religion pl religions) 1. A belief in, or the worship of, a god or group of gods. 2. A particular system of belief or worship.
(adj: religious) 1. Of or relating to religion. 2. Deeply concerned with the beliefs and practice of a religion. 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. 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. 3000

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

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

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

shake(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. 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.
(adj: silent) Used to describe someone or something that is not making noise.
(adv: silently) In a silent way. 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

(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.

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

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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