An Analysis of Family Dynamics that Underlie the Plots and Character Development of the Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence and Two Kinds by Amy Tan


Character formation in books is inspired by the author’s objectives, which intend to build a storyline to meet the reader’s expectations. When evaluating topical issues affecting individuals in the community, authors dig deeper to identify the cause of the problems and examine how they can be resolved. By providing solutions to individuals through works of fiction or narrating factual stories, authors play their part in informing the global population. In many instances, individuals are expected to discover their potential and accomplish various aspects that define their relationships with other people. In The Rocking Horse Winner, D.H. Lawrence demonstrates how individuals can overcome family conflicts by evaluating their interpersonal relationships with their immediate family members. Likewise, Amy Tan highlights the impact of parenting skills in Two Kinds by demonstrating how children are affected by the approaches used by their parents. Analyzing the two stories highlights the effect of family dynamics on the perspectives of children towards life and how challenging it becomes for them to make informed decisions.


In an attempt to please her mother, Hester, Paul in The Rocking Horse Winner embarks on a betting journey relying on intuition to earn money. After experiencing the negative attitude towards family from her mother, Paul is convinced that the only way he can maintain a healthy relationship with her is by filling the gap his father was unable to. In many instances, parents encounter a series of challenges that affect their perspectives towards life. However, in this case, Hester is determined to experience a different life despite her husband putting in the effort to ensure that his family is satisfied (Lawrence). Paul’s decision is inspired by the need to resolve the family conflict between her parents and to rekindle his mother’s love for his children. Since Hester feels out of place in the family, Paul believed that if he could make money to enable her to achieve her objectives, then it would be easier to accomplish the desired goals.

Amy Tan, in Two Kinds, introduces the reader to a thematic concern that highlights the parenting skills individuals should use when interacting with their children. During the process of growth and development, young people are inspired by events and activities taking place in their surroundings. Suyuan and June have a troubled relationship that is defined by their inability to connect and agree on different activities that her daughter should pursue. To please her mother, June embraces the proposed activities where she indulges in with the hope of learning and mastering the craft. After a series of events ranging from piano classes to solving math problems, June confines in her mother and tells her that she is not a genius. By making scathing remarks that break Suyuan’s heart, June discloses to her mother that she wishes she was dead. Many parents in the world today fail to understand the impact of their parenting skills on their children’s thought processes and perspectives on life.

Character Development

In Rocking Horse Winner, the author creates a provoking scenario that presents Paul as the uniting factor in her family. Despite her father’s efforts to sustain their family, Hester believes that he has no luck and will not elevate their social status in life. While this conflict between his parents affects their entire family relationship, Paul resolves to embark on a journey that would generate enough money for her mother to live up to her expectations. At his young age, the decision by Paul’s mother to accept her son’s money highlights her character, which sets a bad precedence in the family context. Parents are supposed to take care of their children and ensure they receive the best education to enable them to accomplish their desired objectives. However, Hester believes that her younger son is the only person who understands her needs and will solve the problems affecting their family.

June is portrayed as a child eager to learn the different processes that define individuals in their immediate environment. Despite her willingness to participate in a piano class taught by a deaf teacher, June fails to grasp the notes and the keys to the disappointment of her mother. Besides, her inability to solve math problems posed by Suyuan creates a rift that makes her feel unwanted in the young family. From the story, Tan aspires to demonstrate how children are affected by specific parenting skills during their interaction with their parents. For June to wish she was dead, Suyuan must have pushed her beyond her abilities, an aspect that caused her to break and hope for the worst. The novel highlights how children should be molded by their parents and exposed to an enabling environment where they can realize their potential. Regardless of their interests and capabilities, parents should support their children and facilitate the realization of their dreams.

Family Conflict

In The Rocking Horse Winner, Hester is portrayed as the cause of division in the family. Her interests in life differ significantly from those of other family members despite her husband meeting her expectations. Besides, she has a troubled relationship with her children because she feels out of place for marrying an unlucky husband. Paul’s decision is inspired by the need to resolve the conflict and unite his family, an aspect that leads to his death. In the same vein, Tan presents the role of family conflict and how it affects the nature of relationships between family members in Two Kinds (Tan). Tan’s story focuses on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, where she imposes pressure on the child to become who she is not. After a series of events where she pleases Suyuan, June decides to tell her she wishes death would strike her, to the surprise of her mother. While Suyuan believed that mounting pressure on her daughter would define June’s abilities, she was shocked to realize that it made her worse. The two stories have succeeded in revealing the significance of parenting skills and how children should be handled.


Analyzing the two stories highlights the impact of family dynamics on the perspectives of children towards life and how challenging it becomes for them to make informed decisions. Understanding the changing needs of individuals enables scholars to highlight various issues affecting individuals in their immediate environment. Based on the ability of many families to expose their children to an enabling environment where they can realize their potential, individuals fail to understand the approaches that can be explored to resolve conflicts. Failed relationships in a family context affect the perspectives of individuals towards life. Despite the efforts of family members to step up to address the issues, it becomes problematic for individuals to discover their potential and how it inspires other people in their surroundings. 

Works Cited

Lawrence, David Herbert. The rocking-horse winner. Dramatic Publishing, 1966.

Tan, Amy. “Two kinds.” The joy luck club (1989): 132-48.

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