Carol Burgoon writes, "I thought about all of the stories we read and which ones I liked the best. After I chose a story that I liked, I decided to write about the main character. For this essay, I wrote a lot and then put it all together. After I had the format, I made revisions that seemed necessary.".
"The Rocking-Horse Winner" is a story about a young boy who is desperately searching for luck and money in order to please his unhappy mother. In the end, this search leads to Paul's untimely death. One can easily view this story as a fairy tale in which Paul bargains with some force, and rides his horse in order to gain knowledge. This knowledge allows Paul to gamble on horse races. Later, Paul loses his bargain, for some reason, and pays the ultimate price. However, there is perhaps a more poignant analysis of this story for the 1990's, where, due to psychological and social influences, Paul senselessly drives himself to an early grave.
Our parents, especially at a young age, are the most influential persons in our lives, so in order to understand Paul, one must look at his mother and father. The story actually begins with a discussion of his mother, saying that she had the best opportunities in life, yet she lacked luck. Also, it states, "She married for love, and that love turned to dust." This is a very important line because although readers never find out exactly why, they know that there is no longer any love in the marriage of Paul's parents, at least on the mother's side. Paul's father is pushed to the back of this story. All that readers know about him is that he works in town, and his good prospects never materialize. Paul's mother tells her son that his father is unlucky, which to her is obviously a character flaw. The mother dismisses the contributions and value of the father, and this forces Paul to dismiss them, and his father, also. One of the greatest crimes that parents can commit is to defame the other parent in front of a child, as Paul's mother does.