Sociological Criticism And “The Rocking Horse Winner”

614 words - 3 pages

Sociological Criticism and "The Rocking-Horse Winner"Daniel P. Watkins relates "The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D.H. Lawrence, to sociological criticism through his critique of the family's need to show off and of the capitalist society they live in. The family lived in style but always felt anxiety in the house because they didn't make enough money for the social position in which they had to keep up (Lawrence 592). The society, culture, and economy are examined to help interpret the content of literary works (Gioia and Kennedy 2029).Throughout "The Rocking-Horse Winner," it is apparent that the family's focus is on finances. "There was always the grinding sense of the shortage of money, though the style was always kept up" (Lawrence 593). Watkins analyzes this element ...view middle of the document...

In this kind of society,Paul has the freedom to do as he wishes with money he makes and luck he encounters. Unfortunately, the society doesn't see the stress this puts on him physically and mentally. "The Derby grew near, and the boy grew more and more tense. He hardly heard what was spoken to him, he was very frail, and his eyes were really uncanny. There must be more money" (Lawrence 600). Watkins gathers from this story that "power associated with money controls the most personal dimension of life" (2031).Watkins describes the rocking horse as symbolism for non-productive labor. It remains stationary and never actually advances (2031). The world places expectations on people saying that in order to make it anywhere you have to be successful. Lawrence writes that Paul's parents have jobs making small income, but nothing is materialized (592). This is a sign of economic scarcity. From the outside, the persona they are giving is that they are wealthy with "style" and expensive taste. This economic scarcity leaves them struggling with a tight budget and falling short of their basic needs, leading them to a world of anxiety and chaos.Works CitedKennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia. "Sociological Criticism." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction,Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Twelfth Edition. Ed. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Pg. 2029. Print.Lawrence, D.H. "The Rocking-Horse Winner." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry,Drama, and Writing, Twelfth Edition. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 592-602. Print.Watkins, Daniel P. "Money and Labor in "The Rocking-Horse Winner."" Literature: AnIntroduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, Twelfth Edition. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2013. 2030-2031. Print.


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