The Rocking-Horse Winner

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Bassett Character Analysis

Bassett is the gardener at Paul’s house, a young man whose foot was wounded in World War I. He is also friends with Oscar Cresswell. Bassett talks with Paul about horse racing and is his partner in his initial betting (before Oscar finds out about it). Bassett is a serious but simple man who seems to value Paul greatly (even thinking that Paul has miraculous powers), and he keeps the money Paul wins in a safe place.

Bassett Quotes in The Rocking-Horse Winner

The The Rocking-Horse Winner quotes below are all either spoken by Bassett or refer to Bassett. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Greed and Materialism  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Rocking-Horse Winner published in 2008.
The Rocking-Horse Winner Quotes

“Oh, well, sometimes I’m absolutely sure, like about Daffodil,” said the boy; “and sometimes I have an idea; and sometimes I haven’t even an idea, have I, Bassett? Then we’re careful, because we mostly go down.”

Related Characters: Paul (speaker), Oscar Cresswell (Uncle Oscar), Bassett
Related Symbols: The Rocking-Horse
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

Uncle Oscar has recognized one of the rocking-horse's temporary names as that of a race winner, and has discovered that Paul and Bassett have been placing bets on horse races. Uncle Oscar then takes Paul to a race to see for himself what is happening, and they all place bets on Daffodil, who comes in first. After the win, Paul explains the process for choosing a horse and the betting history he and Bassett have.

In this passage, Paul explains that sometimes he's certain which horse will win. Other times he has an idea, and sometimes he doesn't know at all who will win. In these final situations, they bet more carefully, since they usually lose money. Here, we see a complicated depiction of luck. Paul isn't classically lucky, since when he has no premonition about who will win he usually loses money and picks the wrong horse. It is only through his intense focus and work that he is able to "get there" and discover for certain which horse will win. At the same time, the ability to work for this information is another form of luck. 

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Bassett Character Timeline in The Rocking-Horse Winner

The timeline below shows where the character Bassett appears in The Rocking-Horse Winner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Rocking-Horse Winner
Family and Intimacy Theme Icon
...Joan, one of Paul’s sisters, tells Uncle Oscar that Paul talks about horse racing with Bassett, the family’s gardener. (full context)
Greed and Materialism  Theme Icon
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Family and Intimacy Theme Icon
...Paul makes Oscar promise once again not to tell anyone else, because Paul has promised Bassett that the two of them would work together as partners. Paul is only helping Uncle... (full context)
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Anxiety Theme Icon
...in reserve. At first, Uncle Oscar doesn’t believe him, but Paul explains that he and Bassett have made a lot of money betting and that Bassett keeps the money safe for... (full context)
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Anxiety Theme Icon
...fifteen hundred pounds of winnings. He offers Uncle Oscar a place as a partner with Bassett and himself, but only if Uncle Oscar promises not to tell anyone else. (full context)
Greed and Materialism  Theme Icon
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Paul, Bassett, and Uncle Oscar go on a walk and Paul explains that they always win when... (full context)
Greed and Materialism  Theme Icon
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Anxiety Theme Icon
Family and Intimacy Theme Icon
Uncle Oscar asks Paul how he becomes “sure,” and Paul explains that he just knows. Bassett says that the knowledge seems to come from heaven. Uncle Oscar agrees to join the... (full context)
Greed and Materialism  Theme Icon
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Anxiety Theme Icon
Family and Intimacy Theme Icon
...leave the house because he doesn’t want to leave his rocking-horse—a secret about which even Bassett and Uncle Oscar don’t know. When Hester decides that Paul is too old to stay... (full context)
Luck and Hard Work Theme Icon
Family and Intimacy Theme Icon
...is critical, and Hester feels as if her heart has been replaced with a stone. Bassett comes in and tells Paul that Malabar has won the Derby. Paul asks his mother... (full context)