D. H. Lawrence is one of the most important figures in English literature in 20th century. His works strongly criticize the capitalist industrial civilization. This paper aims to explore the alienation of family relations in The Rocking-Horse Winner: abnormal relationship between son and mother, indifferent relationship between son and father and monetary relationship between nephew and uncle. The alienation of family relations directly leads to the protagonist Paul’s Oedipus complex and inferiority complex. There are two factors resulting in the alienation of family relations: western industrialization is the external factor; conjugal relation and family education are the internal factors. The study on the alienation of family relations in The Rocking-Horse Winner can make people realize that blind pursuit of money does harm to the interpersonal relationship and remind people that emotion is what should be cherished. As long as there is the phenomenon of excessive pursuit of material in the society, the warning function of The Rocking-Horse Winner will exist. Therefore, The Rocking-Horse Winner written by D. H. Lawrence deserves further in-depth study.
Key Words: The Rocking-Horse Winner; western industrialization; family relations; alienation
1 Introduction 1
2 Literature Review 2
2.1 Main content of the story 2
2.2 Research in related fields 2
2.3 Theory of alienation 2
3 Alienation of family relations in The Rocking-Horse Winner 4
3.1 Alienation of Paul’s family relations 4
3.1.1 Abnormal relationship between son and mother 4
3.1.2 Indifferent relationship between son and father 5
3.1.3 Monetary relationship between nephew and uncle 5
3.2 Effect of Paul’s family relations’ alienation 6
3.2.1 Oedipus complex 6
3.2.2 Inferiority complex 7
4 Reasons for alienation of Paul’s family relations 9
4.1 External reason — Western industrialization 9
4.2 Internal reasons 10
4.2.1 Conjugal relation 10
4.2.2 Family education 11
5 Conclusion 12
Alienation of Family Relations in The Rocking-Horse Winner on the Background of Western Industrialization
Since the industrial revolution, Western capitalism has highly developed. Many people stick to the pursuit of material life. Looking into the situation at home, money worship has come into being in recent years. A great number of people tend to make friends with rich people or marry them in order to satisfy their material needs and vanity. The phenomenon indicates that people give up spiritual life due to pursuing materialism. The Rocking-Horse Winner is a short story written by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. It describes that a boy Paul loses his life in order to satisfy his mother’s desire for money. The story reveals the phenomenon of pursuing materialism. By analyzing the story, it is clear to see how excessive pursuit of material gradually leads to the destructive effect.
First of all, this paper has a comprehensive analysis of three kinds of relations, including Paul and his mother, Paul and his father as well as Paul and his uncle. Paul’s mother has the overwhelming effect on him. Meanwhile, Paul’s father’s negligence influences him. As the betting partner, Paul’s uncle also plays an important role. This paper also dissects two psychological changes of Paul. He has Oedipus complex because he wants to get more love from his mother. And that he is unable to earn money results in his inferiority complex. In addition, this paper explores the reasons for alienation of three kinds of relations. On the one hand, western industrialization has a significant impact on the whole society. On the other hand, conjugal relation drives Paul to be a lucky boy. Family education misleads Paul into believing that money can make a difference.