The notion of the archetypal hero is dominant in D. Lawrence's short story, The Rocking Horse Winner. On the surface, it is a story about a young child, Paul, who seeks his mother's love by producing his own luck, however, it is really about the makings of a hero. Paul can be classified as an archetypal hero because he follows the exact route of a hero's typical journey. .
The first part of the hero's journey is the separation. Separation is natural because the hero must be singled out from everyone else. It shows that he is unique, and intended for a special purpose. He must feel alone, and have a certain measure of detachment from his old life, so that he can find out who he really is. In the story, the young Paul is not only separated from the rest of his family (his father is mostly absent, and his sisters don't like to play with him), but he is also separated from his mother's love. Since a child bases most of his identity on his mother's love, Paul feels truly alone. .
Once the separation is complete, the hero then gets a "call". This call usually comes in the form of a duty or responsibility. It is a calling for his special purpose. Paul's calling is the need to make money so that he can be lucky in the eyes of his mother. Once he is deemed lucky, then he believes that his mother will then love him:.
I'm a lucky person.' 'Why?' said his mother, with a sudden laugh. He stared at her. He didn't even know why he had said it. 'God told me,' he asserted, brazening it out. . 'He did, Mother!' "Excellent!' said the mother, using one of her husband's exclamations. The boy saw she did not believe him: or rather, that she paid no attention to his assertions. This angered him somewhere, and made him want to compel her attention. (pg21) .
Once the calling is complete, characters are introduced to help and guide the hero along. They act as his support system to help him achieve his goal. The family gardener, Bassett, acts as Paul's mentor.