Are these D. H. Lawrence’s greatest short stories?
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) wrote novels, short stories, and poems, among many other things. Although he died in his mid-forties – from tuberculosis – he was a prolific writer who left behind a vast body of work, including many short stories. Below, we’ve picked five of Lawrence’s very best short stories, and said a little bit about each of them.
‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’. ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ was first published in 1926. It’s a story about luck, money, and success, and the dangers of chasing after these and investing too much in them. But how we should analyse and interpret the story remains unclear. The story focuses on a young boy, Paul, who wishes to win money for his mother and who manages to do so by riding his rocking-horse until he enters a state of near-frenzy and he manages to ‘predict’ the name of the horse that will win the next major race. He does this several times, winning ever greater sums of money for his mother, egged on by his Uncle Oscar in whom he confides about the rocking-horse trick. But such a winning streak cannot go on forever… Read the rest of this entry
On Lawrence’s classic short story about the war between the sexes
‘Tickets, Please’ was first published in 1918, while the First World War was still raging. But D. H. Lawrence’s short story of love, sex, betrayal, and vengeance is set on the home front rather than the western front, and centres on the battle of the sexes rather than the horrific conflict in northern France and Belgium. You can read ‘Tickets, Please’ here.
In summary, ‘Tickets, Please’ is a story about a man who works on the trams of Nottingham during the First World War. John Thomas – his very name is slang for the ‘male member’, or penis – is a cock of the walk, a jack the lad, a man who thinks he has it all. Curiously, though, this is 1918 and he’s not ‘at the front’: he’s not fighting in the war. Why? Lawrence doesn’t tell us, but it raises interesting questions. Does this cast a shadow over his ‘manliness’? Read the rest of this entry
On Lawrence’s short poem about childhood
The novelist, short-story writer, and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) had a curious relationship with trees. He reportedly liked the climb mulberry trees in the nude to stimulate his imagination. And trees loom large in his work. In ‘Discord in Childhood’, an early poem which he began writing in 1909 when Lawrence was still only in his mid-twenties, Lawrence uses the ash-tree to suggest the discordant relationship between the tree’s supposed healing properties (it was supposed to play a valuable role in children’s health) and the suffering endured by a child listening to its parents arguing.
Discord in Childhood
Outside the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips,
And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree
Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship’s
Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.
Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash
Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound Read the rest of this entry