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Episode 103: “The Rocking Horse Winner” by D. H. Lawrence

We are back this week on The Literary Life with the final another episode in our 2021 Summer Short Story series, a discussion of D. H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking Horse Winner.” After sharing their commonplace quotes, Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks begin the literary chat with some background information on the writer D. H. Lawrence. Cindy talks about her reaction to this story and the running thread of bitterness underlying throughout. Angelina highlights the significance of the cultural climate of the 1920s in this story. As the story unfolds, we see magical and fairy tale elements, as well as some significant symbols, including the rocking horse.

Come back next week for an important episode on magic in literature and how to approach books with magical elements. Following that, we will explore Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Don’t forget to check out our sister podcast, The Well Read Poem, as well as Cindy’s new podcast, The New Mason Jar!

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Commonplace Quotes:

Rather than being restricted to the simple material they can read on their own, young children need to listen to their teachers read more complex books aloud and engage in discussions about what they’ve heard—and, depending on their age, write about it.
At the same time, teaching disconnected comprehension skills boosts neither comprehension nor reading scores. It’s just empty calories. In effect, kids are clamoring for broccoli and spinach while adults insist on a steady diet of donuts.

Natalie Wexler

Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.

Alexander Pope, “Essay on Man”

Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.

D. H. Lawrence

The Wooden Horse of Myth

by Oscar Williams

The wooden horse of myth stands on the air
arching a traitorous neck on roofed mankind:
the clocks are eyeballs round with mock despair
hunting in sanguine skylines of the mind:

and cherub faces fluttering in position,
dolls tethered by the nerves behind the curtain
and soldiers draped about the foiled ignition
portend an end momentously uncertain.

Meanwhile the white-haired meadows of the sea
sing in the fixtures of the music box:
the crowning glory of the verb to be
marches its fields of fire among the rocks--

while tides of flowers topple from the blood
and horseless hills affirm their mountainhood.

Book List:

Studies in Classic American Literature by D. H. Lawrence

The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence (not recommended)

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

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Connect with Us:

You can find Angelina and Thomas at, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at

Find Cindy at, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also!

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