D.H. Lawrence’s famous short story “The Rocking Horse Winner” (1926) is a profoundly moving and successful story. Part of its success can be attributed to the fact that story is told from an omniscient viewpoint. This gives the story a feeling of being objective and lures the reader into a sense of being the “judge” of the characters in the story and the interpreter of the action that is narrated. The story would not have functioned correctly if Lawrence had decided to tell it through a 1st person narrative because part of the theme of the story is that each of the characters are blind to their own inner-nature. This means that if Lawrence had decided to tell the story in first-person using Hester, Basset, or Oscar as the narrator they would have had to have been “unreliable” narrators and the story is so focused on the theme of greed and exploitation that it benefits from using the reliable omniscient narrator. In fact, the sue of this narrative voice is almost like showing the reader an unadulterated vision of the family, as though the reader is viewing everything from a god-like vantage point.
If Lawrence had tot ell the story from a first-person point of view, the best bet might have been to use Bassett as the narrator because he could at least show what the situation looked like from the “common man’s” perspective. Because it is so necessary to show the materialism that is part of the Cresswell household, Bassett would be a good candidate to relate this aspect to the reader. Using Hester would be the worst idea because the story is not only about gambling and materialism, but about the nature of the destructive relationship between Hester and her son, Paul. As Greg Bentley points out in his study “Hester and the Homo-Social Order: An Uncanny Search for Subjectivity in D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner” (2010) the story “centers on the way the young boy’s neurosis directly results from his relationship with his mother.” (Bentley). Therefore, the story would not work if told from Paul’s perspective because it would not allow the reader to fully experience Hester’s hypocrisy.
Bentley, Greg. “Hester and the Homo-Social Order: An Uncanny Search for Subjectivity in D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner”” D.H. Lawrence Review 34-35 (2010): 55+.