Character Archetypes In D. H. Lawrence's The Rocking-Horse Winner

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They say the written word is a pure expression of the soul, one’s entire being: fragile, unfettered, laid bare, and captured on a page. That is to say when reading a truly exceptional author’s work, one can reach an intimate understanding of that person’s values and beliefs. D.H. Lawrence is one such writer. Lawrence grew up in a unique household, his mother, a socialite fallen from prosperity, and his father, a simple coal worker who was simply trying to provide for his family. That juxtaposition drove Lawrence to strive towards the whispered promise of his mother’s former life and condemn the relentless monotony of his father’s. This fractious relationship led Lawrence to write about tormented family relationship, those strange families that breed mental suffering through verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. This theme is reflected in Lawrence’s short story, “The Rocking-Horse Winner”, with the use of common character archetypes. Within D.H. …show more content…

D.H. Lawrence uses these archetypes to tell a story, one of a tormented family living in a financially insolvent household. He spins this tale using Hester, Paul, and Oscar. Hester represents the terrible mother, whose heartlessness and neglect damages her children, destroying them. Paul represents the sacrificial scapegoat who supplants his father’s role in the family unit and tries to win his mother’s love, only to die in the attempt. Uncle Oscar represents the anti-wise, taking advantage of Paul when he should be guiding him. Knowing D.H. Lawrence’s past, his relationship with his father and mother, and his upbringing, one can infer a lot about his disposition towards tormented family relationships. So is it any surprise that “The Rocking-Horse Winner’ reflects his own life, by displaying the elements of the tormented

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