The Rocking Horse Winner is one of Lawrence's famous short stories in his later years. The novel depicts a mother whose heart is gradually distorted and alienated by her greed for money and material comfort and a son who longs for the love of his mother and wants to win it by all means. The Rocking Horse Winner takes the form of modern fable and reveals the distortion of human nature and the lack of love in a money-oriented society, and criticizes the distortion of the relationship between people caused by money in the western industrial society. Based on Freud’s psychoanalytic criticism theory, this paper analyses the creative motivation of Lawrence and the character image of Paul in his masterpiece The Rocking Horse Winner from the aspects of Oedipus Complex and personality structure theory. It discusses how the Oedipus complex and distorted superego exert a subtle influence on the life of the protagonist and lead him to a tragic ending at last. The significance of this paper lies in revealing the deeper social and psychological reasons behind the novel, and gaining a profound understanding of the author’s writing.
Keywords: Freud; Psychoanalysis criticism; Oedipus complex; Superego
摘 要 I
2. Literature Review 3
2.1.Freud's psychoanalytic criticism 3
2.1.1.Essence and Characteristics of Literature: Satisfaction of Repressed Desire and Unconscious Sublimation 3
2.1.2.Literary Appreciation and Literary Criticism: Revealing “Oedipus Complex” and Personal Structure 4
3. Psycho-analysis of the author 7
3.1.The influence of Lawrence’s own experience on his creation 7
3.2.The childhood experience of Lawrence 9
3.3.The relationship between Lawrence and his mother 10
4.Analysis of the image of Paul 11
D. H. Lawrence is a great English novelist whose works have far-reaching influence. Some of his works are also caused intense social controversy and reaction, and even once has been banned by the authorities. The most direct reason is that Lawrence’s description, language, and thoughts are beyond the scope of ethics and morality that people and society can bear at that time (Leavis,1995). In other words, the novels of Lawrence did not conform to social ethics and morality at that time. However, with the development of the times and the improvement of the level of people’s understanding, scholars gradually realize the ethical value and significance of Lawrence’s works. Lawrence’s works could breathe a new life, which has a profound impact on the lives and thoughts of individuals. “Literature, as an art form, typically and centrally reflects the moral phenomena of human society and describes the moral contradictions and conflicts existing in society” (Keith, 1998:5). In addition, “literature is a unique expression of ethical concepts and moral life in a specific historical stage. Literature is essentially the art of criticism”(Li, 2001:18). Many of Lawrence’s works have explored the fates and ethics of human beings in society. Among them, The Rocking Horse Winner is Lawrence’s masterpiece of short stories. This story explores Lawrence's concern about the relationship between the son and his mother, reflecting the distortion of healthy and harmonious interpersonal relationships caused by money in the western industrial society. The story is concise and thought-provoking. It has a strong shock effect and practical significance. So far, maternal love is still an eternal topic, and the important significance of social relations such as mother-child and husband-wife is self-evident. This paper mainly analyses the image of Paul in The Rocking Horse Winner through psychoanalytic criticism theory, which has important reference significance and inspiration for the construction of the harmonious relationship between people in modern society, especially for the construction of happy family relationship. Besides, through Freud’s theory, we can have a deeper understanding of the creative psychology of the author so that better understand the novel.
The Rocking Horse Winner reflects the distortions of money on healthy and harmonious interpersonal relationships in western industrial societies, which resulted in the materialization of the family relationship. The scholar Bi Binbing commented on The Rocking Horse Winner as “revealing the complete alienation of family relations and the destructive power of women in the modern money society: Paul’s mother was greedy for money, and not only did husband and wife alienate each other, but also lost maternal love and neglected children”(Bi, 2012:67). So the study of this novel can serve as a good warning to establish a natural and harmonious relationship between contemporary men and women, family members, and even to have a normal attachment relationship between mother and son.
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