In literature, theoretical analysis plays a key role in the understandment and critical meaning of a text. Some authors provide hidden meaning that is applicable to these theories to create a greater density in the plot of the story. D.H. Lawrence's short story, "The Rocking Horse Winner," is a prime example of an author cleverly applying this theoretical approach to the creation of a story. In this simple plotted, yet eerie toned story, the psychoanalytic theory is applied.
In terms of literature, there are two types of psychoanalytic theory. One is based on the work of Sigmund Freud and the other is the revision of the Freud's work by Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalyst. From these two viewpoints of this particular theory, Jacques Lacan's theory seems to be the sole influence that Lawrence wrote his story from. In Lacan's vision, he specifies the development of children and society. He sees the development of the child from infancy to adulthood as a series of phases or stages in life. This development emphasizes the relationship of the child to language and the relationships it has with others. This emphasis directly affects the child's sense of identity. These simple stages are solely based around three terms in Lacanian theory: need, demand and desire, all of which are blatant in the main character of "The Rocking Horse Winner.".
In particular, the second stage in the theory seems to be directly linked to the story's main protagonist, Paul. Paul, being a young boy, wants nothing else in life but to please his mother and become lucky, unlike his father. Paul's relationship with his mother is exactly what Lacan discusses in this second stage. This stage begins when the child becomes aware that it is separate from the surrounding world, and especially the mother. Due to this sense of separation and loss of unity, the child shifts from the stage of need into the stage of demand.