Works by the same author often show the repeated use of certain words, images, or plots. In five short stories by the author, D.H. Lawrence, differences between social classes are the basis for conflict and provide the foundation for taboo relationships. These five stories are "The Rocking-Horse Winner," "The Prussian Officer," "Second Best," "The White Stocking," and "The Daughters of the Vicar." The inclusion of the motif of class differences in these particular works often leads to acts of violence or tragedy as the outcome.
In "The Rocking-Horse Winner," a relationship forms between the pseudo- aristocratic Paul and his family's gardener, Bassett. Paul's family is not by any means rich, but "they felt themselves superior to anyone in the neighborhood." Bassett, in contrast, is a young war veteran turned gardener with a passion for horse racing. It turns out that this passion is shared by Paul and his uncle Oscar, as well. Oscar is at first disapproving of the relationship between "old man" Bassett and his nephew, but the love for horse racing and gambling puts them on the same level. The class difference between the men is used by Lawrence to show that debt and greed are universal desires — they are not confined to the lower classes. The fatal climax of the story is sadly also its end. When Paul falls off of the rocking-horse and lies dying in his bed, his mother is brought down from her imaginary pedestal of social superiority and allows Bassett (with whom the boy's "intense hours" were spent) to visit with him. The story ends tragically with social differences being readily apparent.
"The Prussian Officer" is similar to "The Rocking-Horse Wi...
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...is a result, whether direct or indirect, of tragedy and/or violence. "The Rocking Horse Winner" and "The Prussian Officer" describe the brutish deaths of the protagonist, while "Second Best" shows the perversity of a cross-class mating ritual. "The Daughters of the Vicar" is a tragedy due to the death of a character as well as the sentencing of the two heroes to a life of seclusion and tribulation. Motifs can come in many forms, and the stories of D.H. Lawrence can be linked in a variety of ways. Interestingly enough, as illustrated by this essay, one of the strongest links has to do with the differences between people and the problems that relationships between them can cause.
Lawrence, David Herbert. "The Rocking-Horse Winner". Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirzner and Stephen R. Mandell. Forth Worth: Harcourt, Inc., 2001
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