58 pages 1 hour read

D. H. Lawrence

The Rocking Horse Winner

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1926

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Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Consider the role of luck in the story. Which characters have luck, and which do not? How does luck change their fortunes? Connect your response from the Personal Connection Prompt with the views from this story.

Teaching Suggestion: This Discussion/Analysis Prompt invites students to recontextualize their understanding of Luck: Fortune and Providence in the story. Paul’s mother believes that individuals (particularly wives) are not in control of their own luck because luck is something that happens to a person, not something that they can pursue or control. However, Paul proves otherwise for himself by setting out on a successful quest to become lucky. During the Victorian era, a lack of social mobility made it difficult or impossible for normal people to improve their station in life; in fact, being born into a wealthy family or marrying into one were the most likely ways to acquire wealth. The mother’s matter-of-fact reaction to her sudden, lucky accumulation of wealth reflects a wider Victorian viewpoint that it is society, not an individual or luck, that controls any one person’s well-being or fortune over time. Ironically, Paul makes his money solely through luck, and he believes he has found a foolproof way to earn consistent income through luck.