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The Rocking Horse Winner

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1 The Rocking Horse Winner
By D. H. Lawrence

2 Analyzing Conflict for Theme
Looking over your homework, confer with your neighbor that you both identified: the characters that are in conflict with one another the inner and external conflicts for Paul the turning point in the story Together, decide who won the conflict in the story or if the conflict is left unsolved and why. Putting it all together, what was the theme of the story?

3 Diction For the following quotes, explain why you think Lawrence used the bold words as opposed to others he could have used? “She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been thrust upon her, and she could not love them.” Bonny means: healthy, sweet, and lively “And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase (… and) they heard it at Christmas, when the expensive and splendid toys filled the nursery.” Splendid means: gorgeous; magnificent; sumptuous “Oh well, sometimes I’m absolutely sure, like about Daffodil.” A daffodil is a flower that blooms in the spring. Why pick that name for a horse in this story?

4 Shocking Ending And even as he lay dead, his mother heard her brother's voice saying to her, "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner." What shocking elements do find in the story’s ending and within the quote above? Why are they noteworthy?

5 Getting the Allusion In order to understand a lot, and I mean a lot of allusions, you must have a basic understanding of Oedipus Rex and what an Oedipal Complex is Oedipus Rex is an ancient Greek drama where a king and queen are told by a blind seer that their son, who was just born, will kill the father and marry his mother. When the parents learn of this they send their son away to a place where he will never be able to return. Well, of course he does return as a man, with no idea who his parents are, and kills the king, marries the queen, has children with her, and then one day, the blind seer returns and tells Oedipus who he is and what he has done. Out of disgust and grief, Oedipus tears out his own eyes, wanders the countryside, and is later redeemed.

6 Foster and The Rocking Horse Winner
“Let’s look at the pattern that’s set up: a child wants to supplant father in his mother’s affections, child desperately wants mother’s approval and love, child engages in highly secretive behavior involving, frenetic, rhythmic activity that culminates in transporting loss of consciousness.” - Foster What about this summary by Foster is similar to the story of Oedipus? What does this allusion do for you the reader?

7 The Rocking Horse Winner
Day 2 Take notes on a separate piece of paper

8 A deconstructive perspective on The Rocking Horse Winner
“Deconstruction emphasizes differences, or the structure of constituent opposition in text (... and) meaning is constructed as the result of an opposition, which can be bread as ideologically grounded (…but the emphasis is placed on) the need to subvert or undermine the object called to question.” With this quote in mind: what are some opposites that are present in the story? In what way do some of those opposites act to subvert their pair?

9 A deconstructive perspective on The Rocking Horse Winner
"You see, it's all right, uncle, when I'm sure! Then we go strong, for all we're worth, don't we, Bassett?" "We do that, Master Paul." "And when are you sure?" said the uncle, laughing. "Oh, well, sometimes I'm absolutely sure, like about Daffodil," said the boy; "and sometimes I have an idea; and sometimes I haven't even an idea, have I, Bassett? Then we're careful, because we mostly go down." "You do, do you! And when you're sure, like about Daffodil, what makes you sure, sonny?" "Oh, well, I don't know," said the boy uneasily. "I'm sure, you know, uncle; that's all." "It's as if he had it from heaven, sir," Bassett reiterated. "I should say so!" said the uncle. But he became a partner. And when the Leger was coming on Paul was 'sure' about Lively Spark, which was a quite inconsiderable horse. The boy insisted on putting a thousand on the horse, Bassett went for five hundred, and Oscar Cresswell two hundred. Lively Spark came in first, and the betting had been ten to one against him. Paul had made ten thousand. With this quote in mind, explain to me what the deconstructivist would say the opposites are and what the subversion is.

10 Feminism in The Rocking Horse Winner
“Feminist criticism examines the social, economic, and cultural aspects of literary works, but especially for what those works reveal about the role, position, and influence of women. Feminist critics also typically see literature as an arena in which to contest for power and control, since as sociological critics, feminist critics also see literature as an agent for social transformation.” With this quote in mind: what are some things that feminists would say are present in the story? In what way do women, “contest for power and control”?

11 Feminism in The Rocking Horse Winner
“She had discovered that she had an odd knack of sketching furs and dress materials, so she worked secretly in the studio of a friend who was the chief 'artist' for the leading drapers. She drew the figures of ladies in furs and ladies in silk and sequins for the newspaper advertisements. This young woman artist earned several thousand pounds a year, but Paul's mother only made several hundreds, and she was again dissatisfied.” With this quote in mind, explain to me what the feminist would say this quote shows.

12 Pick your own criticism
Analyze “The Rocking Horse Winner” using any of the criticisms in the DiYanni book. Make sure to pick a quote from the story that supports the position in DiYanni and write a paragraph that analyzes the concept in depth

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