Chapter 1 The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse
Text Book Questions and Answers
The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse About the Author
William Saroyan (13 August 1908 – 18 May 1981) was an Armenian-American novelist, playwright and short story writer. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of The Human Comedy.Saroyan wrote extensively about the Armenian immigrant life in California. Many of his stories and plays are set in his native Fresno. Some of his best-known works are ‘The Time of Your Life’, ‘My Name Is Aram’ and ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands’.
The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse Main Theme
This story is about two Armenian boys and a white horse in a village in San Joaquin Valley, California one summer. Aram is nine years old and Mourad is thirteen years old. They belong to the Garoghlanian tribe which is known for its honesty. The two boys are extremely fond of riding, but they and their tribe are very poor. One day Mourad comes to Aram’s house on a white horse and invites him to ride. Aram knows that the horse is stolen, but cannot resist the chance to ride. Mourad keeps the horse in a deserted barn and takes good care of it. He is able to discipline the horse because he has a way with horses.
A month passes. Then John Byro, the owner of the horse, visits the family and speaks about the loss of his horse. The boys decide to keep the horse with them for some more time.
After two weeks, John Byro meets the boys walking with the horse. He says it is exactly like his own horse. He also says if their family did not have such a formidable reputation for honesty, he would think it was his horse. He does not accuse the boys of stealing his horse.The next morning the boys take the horse to John Byro’s vineyard and leave it in his barn.
The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse Reading with Insight
You will probably agree that this story does not have breathless adventure and exciting action. Then what in your opinion makes it interesting?
In spite of not containing breathless adventure and exciting action, the story is interesting because of the ‘craziness’ of Mourad and uncle Khosrove, the decency of John Byro and the charming innocence of the narrator. Aram and Mourad, whose tribe was widely known for its honesty got engaged in stealing a horse for their desire of riding. The reader is interested in knowing whether they will return the horse to its rightful owner. The story has charming vivid ,and pictorial description with simple and touching language.
Did the boys return the horse because they were conscience-stricken or because they were afraid?
The children returned the horse to John Byro because their conscience instructed them to do so. Their intention was to keep the horse for at least six more months but the meeting with John Byro changed Mourad’s heart. Byro did not claim the horse. He only spoke about the honesty of their family which prompted Mourad to return the horse to its rightful honour.
“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…” The story begins in a mood of nostalgia. Can you narrate some incident from your childhood that might make an interesting story? What in your opinion makes it interesting?
The craze for a bike landed me in a pool of problems when I had just turned fourteen. My neighbours had bought a new ‘Hero Honda’. I was fascinated by the Blue Beauty. Day and night I planned to ride it. Once when my neighbours had parked it outside I sneaked out of my house and dragged it to a nearby park where my friends had gathered to enjoy the ride.
Ravi, my closest friend, got the privilege to ride it first. He was allowed to return in ten minutes. Next was my turn. I was delighted. I drove at high speed and did not bother to stop even at the red light. Life seemed to be a mysterious dream. The police tried to stop me but I escaped. Very soon we were spotted by our neighbour who had been looking for his lost bike.
I was baffled and did not know what to do. I stepped forward to confess as telling a lie might have proved disastrous. I was very poor at telling lies. He was angry but finally he appreciated us for speaking the truth. Later on my father scolded me for doing such a thing at that young age. (Students may narrate other experiences too.)
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 and geographical and economic features as suggested in the story.
Garoghlanian tribe—find out from the Net.