David Herbert Lawrence was born in 1885 in Eastwood, Nottingham, a mining town in England. Lawrence grew up in a middle class family with a coal-mining father. He was the fourth of five children. He attended high school at Nottingham High School with the help of a scholarship. The school was "purely bourgeoisie, but the scholarship boys were a class apart- (Hamalian 14). Lawrence attended Nottingham University for two years and became a teacher. He traveled all over Europe, Italy and German for the most part. Then later arrived in the United States where he stayed for a few years until returning to England. Lawrence liked to be thought of as a follower of the "dark gods- of the unconscious and of spiritual "blood-knowledge- (Gilbert 275). His writings caused him to be thought of as a social thinker and were deeply personal, sometimes containing first hand accounts of his own life. .
Many critics have exhaustively criticized Lawrence's "The Rocking-Horse Winner- by reading too far into his vocabulary, resulting in themes ranging from Oedipal love to demonic worship. However, they have overlooked Lawrence's analysis of capitalist society. Discontent is rampant throughout the entire story. Koban went as far as to say the story is a "mordant commentary on the distorted and self-destructive values of the upper-middle class and of many of us living in a capitalist, money-dominated society- (229). In "The Rocking-Horse Winner" Lawrence explores the theme of criticizing money and relationships in a capitalist society.
Carola Kaplan speculates that this story is a reflection of materialism and demonstrates the greed of people. This is clear with Lawrence's constant placement of the phrase "There must be more money! There must be more money!- throughout the telling of the story. Also, with Paul's mother being unhappy in her marriage because she is bourgeoisie. Being in a capitalist society the family is led to believe that money brings happiness; the more money, the happier one will be.