Lawrence frequently describes his characters’ eyes and uses them as indicators of a character’s emotional state. He pays particular attention to Paul’s eyes, which undergo a change over the course of the story. When Paul first begins to ride his rocking-horse, his eyes are described as being “close-set” and having “a strange glare.” This is in contrast the rocking-horse’s eyes, which are wide set and bright. As Paul’s obsession with luck intensifies, his eyes turn into “blue fire.” At the end of Paul’s life, he is so intensely focused on becoming lucky that his eyes are “uncanny,” or strange and unsettling. “Uncanny” can also refer to something that is supernatural, and the appearance of Paul’s eyes suggests that he has ridden his horse so hard that he has ceased to be human, or at least a normal, healthy one.
Eyes are also important communicative tools among the other characters in the story. The children recognize that their mother Hester does not love them by looking in her eyes. The children also use their eyes to communicate an unspoken understanding that they can all hear the house whispering.
Eyes Quotes in The Rocking-Horse Winner
He became wild-eyed and strange, as if something were going to explode in him.
He hardly heard what was spoken to him, he was very frail, and his eyes were really uncanny. His mother had sudden strange seizures of uneasiness about him. Sometimes, for half an hour, she would feel a sudden anxiety about him that was almost anguish. She wanted to rush to him at once, and know he was safe.
His eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second, as he ceased urging his wooden horse. Then he fell with a crash to the ground, and she, all her tormented motherhood flooding upon her, rushed to gather him up.