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Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence and the Lottery by Shirley Jackson

Essay by   •  November 23, 2012  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,159 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,963 Views

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Both the Rocking Horse Winner by D H Lawrence and the Lottery by Shirley Jackson manage to turn winning into tragedy, by using a sudden turn towards irony.

I. Introduction

a. The similarities and different approaches to the stories

II. Characterization

a. The characters help paint the picture for the setting

b. The characters infuse life into the stories

III. Literary Theme

a. The theme is suggested in both stories

IV. Irony

a. How the story uses irony to make it's point

V. Conclusion

a. Both stories contain a moral message that is relevant even in today's society.


Both the Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson turn winning into tragedy. While both short stories lead us toward a tragic ending they both take different approaches to their unexpected outcome. Jackson opens her story with a bright summer day, and leads the reader through a spiraling conflict experienced with her bright colorful characters, while the Lawrence begins his story with a family that is already down trodden, and their quest to find luck. Nevertheless, despite the different approaches to the ironic endings, the characters are loveable in both stories, and the climax is thrilling and breathtaking.


The main character of The Rocking Horse Winner is Paul. He would be considered a dynamic character based upon his change in attitude, from a boy asking his mother to explain the concept of luck and money, to a boy determined to ride his rocking horse for hours on end until he creates his own luck. Another great character is basset, the young gardener. He was the boy's trusted confidant who secretly helps the boy place racing bets. His loyalty to the boy is unprecedented throughout the story, as he kept the boy's secret from everyone, including the boy's Uncle Oscar. Uncle Oscar is a protagonist's who helps Paul open an account with five thousand dollars as a gift for his mother, further feeding her greed, which ultimately sends Paul into a riding fury leading to his death. Paul's mother is a relatively flat character. Throughout the story, neither her mood nor her personality changes; she remains stern and cold with very little emotion, until the boy falls ill.

In the Lottery, Shirley Jackson also uses a verity of characters that will surely captivate the reader. Mr. Summers is one example of a stock character, who seems to be the only politician and officiator of the lottery. Summer's is the typical businessman and civic leader of a small town. He has no children and it appears that he spends most of his time being involved with civic activities such as the town square dances, the teenage club and the Halloween program (Jackson, 1948). However, the most dynamic character is Mrs. Hutchinson, who seems to take the lottery drawing lightly, as she arrives late and casually jokes with her husband about being selected. That is, until the end, when she has been selected as the lotteries unlucky winner, and now no longer seems to take an easy approach to this timeless tradition. Other characters are used to help paint an elaborate picture of the lottery



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