The summer of the beautiful white horse. : An Analysis A discussion of how the author uses diction, literary terms and tone to portray the meaning of through the text. Nostalgia marks the tone of narrator in the opening line of the sentence, reminiscing over how the world used to be magnificent and delightful. The sentence “life was still a delightful and mysterious dream” aptly describes how the narrator perceived the world as a nine year old. The theme of exaggeration and awe is repeatedly seen throughout the story through the character of uncle Khosrove and the narrator’s admiration of the horse. So awe stricken was Aram that he could not believe his eyes when his “crazy” cousin Mourad brought a beautiful white horse outside the window of his room around daybreak. The innocence of Aram is demonstrated through admiration of his cousin despite his being thought of as crazy by the elder tribe members. But Aram who knew him justified his behavior as someone who enjoyed being alive. The reason of his utter disbelief was because his obsession of horses dated back to “earliest memories and his first longings had been longings to ride.” Though the story follows a simple and straightforward plot, it is brought to life by vivid descriptions of the experience of being a child, portraying the intensity of emotions in their full colour rather than putting forward a biased and external claim of how children feel. Aram’s passion is not demeaned by his age, rather magnified through his creative faculty of imagination. The phrase of “earliest memories” signals that he had been brought up around horses but meager finances could not satisfy his wishes The story follows a series of emotional highs and lows as in the contrast, “This was the wonderful part. In the second place, we were poor.” The reader after dwelling on Aram’s unadulterated love is strikingly brought to the reality of his finances. The badge of honesty that his tribe wore for “eleven centuries” shines in his description of them. “Every branch of the Garoghlanian family was living in the most amazing and comical poverty.” Aloofness and honesty is also a typical behavior of a child who remains unaffected by cunningness. He belonged to a proud tribe that lived honest and simple lives. Even the elders could not understand how they were able to gather enough money to survive. Their pride preceded honesty and decision of right and wrong. The ignorance of the elders is remarkable due to their knowledge of it. The badge of false wisdom acquired by withering age is not worn, which highlights honesty. The narrator uses his senses and repetition in the phrase, “Even though I could see the horse, so magnificent; even though I could smell the horse, so lovely; even though I could hear it breathing, so exciting;” the repetition emphasizes eagerness. The use of strong vowels to describe routine functions highlights his disbelief. Even when he realises that the horse is present in reality, it does not make it less magnificent than if he was in a dream. So magnificent was the horse that it could not have anything to do with him, his cousin or his entire family because it was out of the entire family’s means. Even as a child, Aram was aware of his social standing and the privileges they could afford. His cousin could not have bought the horse and Aram could not believe if he had stolen it. “No member of the Garoghlanian family could be a thief.” This indicates the danger that was if they committed theft, they could be shunned from the tribe. “There was a pious stillness and humor in each of them which on the one hand delighted me and on the other frightened me.” Mourad offering him a way to fulfill his dreams was delightful and at the same time would make him abandon the set of values taught to him by his family. The moral dilemma set in when he didn’t refuse the ride. But eager as he was, Aram bargains in his mind that maybe it was not stealing if they were not selling it. If they were so passionate about horses as they were, it was not stealing. He bends the moral rules to fulfill his desires. The brimming excitement is portrayed through phrases like “jumped out of bed”, “leaped into my clothes” “leaped onto the horse”. The boys went behind their house. “The air was new and lovely to breathe.” The simple task as breathing felt liberating when they were riding the horse. “I mean, he (Mourad) began to roar.” To highlight his craziness, the narrator uses the word “roar" as in the case of Uncle Khosrove from whom his cousin was thought to be descended because he had inherited his mad nature. To form a colorful image, the narrator uses strong verbs to quicken the rhythm of a story that is set in the quiet countryside. “Before him was our uncle Khosrove, an enormous man with a powerful head of black (strong adjective) and the largest moustache (perhaps that was how it appeared to a nine year old) in the San Joaquin Valley, a man so furious in temper, so irritable, so impatient that he stopped anyone from talking by roaring, It is no harm, pay no attention to it.” It is ironical that in a way Aram is saying a similar thing to himself to ease his conscience “It is no harm, pay no attention to it.” He pushes away the teachings of his elders in the same way Uncle Khosrove roars when anybody points out a problem. His uncle dismissed worrying problems like his house on fire to not feel anything negative and in turn was the most negative man to be around. He overpowered others with his roaring voice as he could not overpower his own fears. Deep down he was afraid. Otherwise he would have faced whatever life threw at him without cowering. Phrases like description of birth as “anybody else who had fallen into the world by mistake”, “what we liked to think was the world” signal to the tribe’s inherited beliefs that the narrator repeats painting the proper image of a small town. They signal to the myths prevalent in their Armenian tribe. “The distribution of the various kinds of spirit of our tribe had been from the beginning capricious and vagrant.” Even he is not able to understand the concept that spirits could be inherited from the members of the tribe and takes on a comical tone. The words capricious and vagrant denote a quick transition of spirit as if it was a haphazard process. The use of strong verbs indirectly indicates the fragility of the belief. “For all anybody knew we were still in the old country where, at least according to some of our neighbours, we belonged.” Aram is aware of the consequences of diverting from the traditional values which could result in abandonment. His cousin keeps from him the tricks he uses to control the horse and claims to have a way with a horse. “You’re still a small boy, he said. When you get to thirteen, you’ll know how to do it." Aram was confident that whatever Mourad could do, he could as well. The dialogues in the short story are short and abrupt with a frankness that makes the story fast paced, such as, “Ride, he said.” Leaping onto the horse, Aram could not make it move. For him, “it was the worst fear imaginable.” This indicates the importance of the action. At the same time highlights his childishness for approaching the normal situation with gravity. He kicked into its muscles and it soon galloped off leaving him in the dust, almost as if his ambition had rejected him. The horse leaped over seven vines trying to get him off until it finally did. Mourad was strangely not concerned about him and demands him to run to the other side. After he got hold of the horse, Mourad says “The whole world is awake now.” Ironically Aram had narrated earlier in the story that the tribe once thought that they were the richest in the world because they did not know enough of the places beyond their border. This type of exaggeration is repeated throughout, “None of us would take advantage of anybody in the world.” Though Mourad was said to have inherited Uncle Khosrove’s spirit, he was practical like his father Zorab because he lied to Aram when he asked since when he had started riding. He did not want him to be a liar as well though both of were involved in the petty crime. It was he who found the deserted vineyard “which at one point had been the pride of a farmer”. It is ironical that it was because the horse had jumped over vines that they had to hide him in the vineyard. The horse himself was the pride of a farmer named John Byro. Mourad was similar to his uncle in the way that he dismissed guilt in the lines, “What sort of an understanding (do you have with the horse)? I said. “A simple and honest one, he said” How can he have an honest understanding with a horse he has stolen? Aram is aroused in a turmoil when the owner of the horse, a lonely farmer named John Byro, showed up for tea. He voices his grievances about the horse he had lost. The angry replies of Uncle Khosrove could be symbolic of the voice inside Aram trying to dismiss guilt. He runs to Mourad who is fixing a bird’s wing. Aram understands from the farmer that he had stolen the horse a month ago. Instead of persuading him to return it, he asks a promise from him to not return it until he has learned to ride. Mourad roared. “Are you inviting a member of the Garoghlanian family to steal?” Up until now, he does not think that he has stolen him, only lied. The reader would have expected a change of heart. But he too had no intention of returning him until six months. “The bird tried hard, almost fell twice, but at last flew away, high and straight.” The bird is symbolic of the horse. Though they tried hard to keep him, almost got caught twice (the first time when Aram fell from the horse and the second when they run into John Byro) but in the end they have to let him go. The boys had resolved to keep him but a change in conscience arises when John Byro does not “believe his eyes instead of his heart.” Instead of reprimanding them, he reminds them of the virtues their family is known for. “The fame of your family for honesty is well known to me.” They return him the next day, the story thus coming full circle. The horse that Mourad had named My heart was stronger and better tempered perhaps because Aram had trained him to be tolerant. The story ends on a comical note when Mourad claims with confidence he had a way with dogs. Previously he had claimed the same for horses and farmers. Uncle Khosrove shouts “Quiet, man, quiet. Your horse has been returned. Pay no attention to it.” This repetition of the phrase highlights the mundanity of countryside and also makes the character memorable for the reader. It highlights the repetitive nature of a person and how he resorts to his general feedback for all the challenges of life. Theme: The summer of the beautiful horse takes the reader through the dreams and troubles of childhood and the moral dilemma one faces when he steps away from accepted societal norms. It is a touching story that portrays the world magnified through the eyes of a wondrous child, made vibrant by peculiar characters like his uncle Khosrove and cousin Mourad and the practices of an Armenian tribe. The story deals with the moral choices adolescents face leaving the reader with a glimpse of a simpler life of countryside and a simpler time of childhood.
Answering NCERT Reading with Insight 1. You will probably agree that this story does not have breathless adventure and exciting action. Then what in your opinion makes it interesting? Vivid descriptions of perceptions of a child, peculiar characters and a quiet setting with a rich background makes the story interesting. But the reader is hooked on by the intense devotion Aram has for learning to ride horses, for which he is willing to overcome injuries and defy the virtues passed on to him by his family. Even when the horse does not accept him as a rider, he pushes on determined to have a way with him. Emotions have the power to breathe life into simpler settings and form a bond with the main character. Aram’s excitement and eagerness, and the way he tries to mold reality to fulfill his dreams makes him adorable. The fickle arrow of conscience often points him in the right direction, such as the time when John Byro comes to his house but he runs to Mourad to persuade him to keep the horse, hoping to prolong his time with the horse. The story highlights the pure love we have as children for objects that may not seem important to adults. It deals with the choices one faces when fulfilling dreams in a poignant way for Aram knows that eventually he will have to let the horse go and free his conscience. 2. Did the boys return the horse because they were conscience stricken or because they were afraid? The boys returned the horse when John Byro praised the virtues of their family. He dismissed his instinct about the horse and believed in their honesty. In a way, he was able to place a mirror in front of them, reminding them of who they really were and their rich heritage. He aroused their conscience which pushed them to commit to the virtue. They could not have been afraid, for the farmer had believed Mourad and was very cordial towards them. We could go as far as to say that the farmer had freed them of the fear of being caught, for they had faced the owner and the verdict was passed in their favour. 3. “One day back there in the good old days when I was nine and the world was full of every imaginable kind of magnificence, and life was still a delightful and mysterious dream….” 5 / 6 The story begins in a mood of nostalgia. Can you narrate some incident from your childhood that might make an interesting story? Back when I was nine, my father who I believed to be capable of magic, used to cast a spell on me which would make me invisible. I used to prance around the horse gayly, thinking as if I was bestowed with some secret power. My parents would pretend as if they could only hear my voice, and my brother used to grumpily play along, which would erupt laughter from me. Only when I would jump in front of the TV would the power be taken away and I was made to sit aside quietly. Until next time…… 4. The story revolves around characters who belong to a tribe in Armenia. Mourad and Aram are members of the Garoghlanian family. Now locate Armenia and Assyria on the atlas and prepare a write-up on the Garoghlanian tribes. You may write about people, their names, traits, geographical and economic features as suggested in the story. The Garoghlanian tribe is from Armenia. They ended up settling in areas such as Fresno, California. Part of the tribe's culture is trying to find a sense of placement and self in a new and modern setting. The Garoghlanian tribe is a group that operates in this modern predicament while clinging to values of the past, of their native Armenia. In Saroyan's short story, these values become extremely important in how the characters in it relate to one another: The Garoghlanian tribe is from Armenia. They ended up settling in areas such as Fresno, California. Part of the tribe's culture is trying to find a sense of placement and self in a new and modern setting. The Garoghlanian tribe is a group that operates in this modern predicament while clinging to values of the past, of their native Armenia. In Saroyan's short story, these values become extremely important in how the characters in it relate to one another:They also understand that the value and thereby the use of property belong to those with spirit and understanding, not only money. A horse, after all, is a living being, not a thing like the burning house that Uncle Khosrove so easily dismisses. John Byro knows who has taken his horse, and he hints not to the boys but to the boy's relatives that he knows, but he does not force the issue by demanding his horse back. To insult the honor of the Garoghlanian family would cause much more trouble than the loss of a horse, disruptingthe peace of the community. The Garoghlanian tribe is from Armenia. They ended up settling in areas such as Fresno, California. Part of the tribe's culture is trying to find a sense of placement and self in a new and modern setting. The Garoghlanian tribe is a group that operates in this modern predicament while clinging to values of the past, of their native Armenia. In Saroyan's short story, these values become extremely important in how the characters in it relate to one another:They also understand that the value and thereby the use of property belong to those with spirit and understanding, not only money. A horse, after all, is a living being, not a thing like the burning house that Uncle Khosrove so easily dismisses. John Byro knows who has taken his horse, and he hints not to the boys but to the boy's relatives that he knows, but he does not force the issue by demanding his horse back. To insult the honor of the Garoghlanian family would cause much more trouble than the loss of a horse, disruptingthe peace of the community.This becomes one of the fundamental principles of the tribe. The fact that Byro interacts with the boys, whom he knows has stolen his horse, with a sense of compassion and understanding is one element that underscores the Garoghlanian tribe, which sees itself as a type of family. The idea of respecting the bonds between individuals becomes extremely important to this group of Armenians, one of many that had to have experienced displacement and the rupturing of such connections with the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Turks after World War I.**** ****: