As I read The Rocking Horse Winner I used the before, during, and after reading comprehension strategies to better understand and get involved in the story. Using the before strategy, I found the purpose of the reading was to take part in the courses expectations and understand what I was about to read. I realized I had to read the story slowly and carefully so I could make connections, get involved, and create mental images. I wondered what the story was going to be about.
All I had to work with was the title and first couple of lines; these lead me to believe the story to be about a beautiful woman with many advantages. The title made me question, was the rocking horse her lucky charm? During my reading I soon realize the woman was far from perfect. The family lived an expensive lifestyle that they could not afford, which compromised their happiness. The mother was cold and had a heart of stone; this greatly affected the way the entire family viewed love, a true reflection of the mother’s inability to love.
I read on and wondered if it were possible for the little boy to prove that with hard work everyone including himself could posses luck, and why was he so fond of his rocking horse? Then everything began to make sense; the rocking horse was the lucky charm! But the little boy was the only one who believed in the horse. The story reminded me of a family I knew; the family lived a similar lifestyle, with similar problems. This made me realize I was using the strategy mental imagery.
The father was rarely mentioned throughout the story, it left me to wonder if he truly tried to help with the family’s financial state. He was never around, not even when his child was sick and dying. Was he out night and day trying to put food on the table? Or was he having an affair? The main idea in the story was luck; the kind that people live their whole lives hoping for, but never putting forth enough effort to posses. The stories message was clear, things don’t just come to you, one has to work hard for them.
A perfect example was when before the little boy died he said, “I never told you, mother, that if I can ride my horse, and get there, then I’m absolutely sure—oh, absolutely! Mother did I ever tell you? I am lucky! ” These words truly opened his mother’s eyes and stood out most in my mind. Like the story’s message implies, if you are sure you are lucky just like everyone else, work hard to get what you want and believe in what you want, then you can achieve any goal.