The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse

Example: Student Exemplar

"The horse stood on its hind legs, snorted, and burst into a fury of speed that was the loveliest thing I had ever seen."

"The horse stood on its hind legs, snorted, and burst into a fury of speed that was the loveliest thing I had ever seen."

Abby L. likes how the narrator improves her opinion of characters

In the book “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse” by

William Saroyan, I found that the point of view was first person. It was evident in the very first paragraph when the narrator Aram said “ONE day back there in the good old days when I was nine and the world was full of every imaginable kind of magnificence…”. Obviously, since the narrator used ‘I’, it means that the story is in first person. So I decided to dig deeper and find how the use of first person improves the story.

I think the use of first person helps improve Mourad’s character by making him seem like a nicer/better person.When a narrator has an opinion about a character, the reader tends to have the same opinion. Therefore, because Aram thinks highly of his cousin, you want to think highly of him too. “My cousin Mourad put his arms around the horse, pressed his nose into the horse’s nose, patted it, and then we went away.” When I hear this, I think of Mourad as a more likable character because of his connection with the horse. “..My cousin Mourad, who was considered crazy by everybody who knew him except me…” Because of this line the reader believes that Mourad is not as crazy as everyone else thinks because Aram thinks he is sane. “It wasn’t stealing. It wouldn’t become stealing until we offered to sell the horse, which of course, I knew we would never do.” This line makes Mourad seem more trustworthy because Aram thinks he is honest. Since Aram trusts his cousin Mourad, the reader wants to trust him too. He becomes a better person because of the narrator’s opinions of him.

So, what makes a narrator trustworthy? It’s easy to see the qualities of an unreliable narrator, but what about one that you instantly trust? Well, you can sometimes find your trust in the opening paragraphs. Many unreliable narrators admit to insanity instantly, or say something that is completely insane and could never possibly be backed up by fact. Lots of good narrators are backed up with good solid fact. They make you feel good and they know how to tell a story so that you are a part of it and can understand it well. Aram is a very good narrator. He is someone who I trust to tell me the story. That’s why I believe him when he talks about Mourad being a good character.

Original image: ‘Galloping

Galloping

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4 Comments so far

  1.   Diana G on January 23rd, 2012          

    “So I decided to dig deeper and find how the use of first person improves the story.” When you said this, I realized that the way the author tells the story, really does matter. Maybe the story wouldn’t have been as good if it was in 3rd, or 2nd person. Before I read this, I hadn’t put much thought into the point of view of the author. I didn’t think it really mattered until you pointed it out. Now that I have a better understanding of the point of view, I can honestly say that it does matter. If it wasn’t in 1st person, we might have gotten the wrong impression of the characters. You dug in really deep, which made me dig in deep.
    When the story said, “..My cousin Mourad, who was considered crazy by everybody who knew him except me…” if the story wasn’t in 1st person, we could have thought he was crazy. I agree with you when you said, “Because of this line the reader believes that Mourad is not as crazy as everyone else thinks because Aram thinks he is sane,” because the author says Aram thinks his cousin is sane, so do we, because the author said it. You really did do a great job on this.

  2.   Rowen S on January 21st, 2014          

    I never really considered which person (1, 2, or 3) it was told in until I read this. I agree with you that it was a good idea to go with 1st person. Aram was the one telling the story from his perspective and he made you believe that Mourad was and is a good person. I also liked that you talked about having a trustworthy narrator which is just as important. Like you said, Aram was a good narrator and in the story I truly believed that the kid was telling the truth.

  3.   Afton T. on January 21st, 2014          

    I think that you have a good point about the story “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse,” by sharing your opinion about Mourad. I would have never of thought of the fact that the story was written in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person but, you made me think of that showing that the story was being told by the own readers point of view. I think that also you have some good evidence on what you think of Mourad and, they are strong. I would want to agree with you think that Aram had a lot of trust in his cousin and, that Mourad was head strong but, i would have disagree with thinking that just because Aram has a lot of trust in Mourad doesn’t mean that he is a trustworthy person. I think that because, yes he did change in the end giving the beautiful white horse back to the rightful owner but, if it wasn’t for his uncle then he probably wouldn’t of returned it. Other than that I think you did a great job.

  4.   Zoe B. on January 23rd, 2014          

    I realized that the way the author tells the story plays a big part in what you think of the story. If he was to tell the story in 3rd person it wouldn’t be as good of a story because it is like you aren’t actually there, you are just watching the story. The quotes that you used are really explanatory with what literary device you used. The main character is talking about what he sees, and if it was in 3rd person, it would be talking about how Aram watched his cousin ride the horse and how it reared and started galloping, not you being Aram and you watching your cousin ride the beautiful white horse. I liked your word choice and how you explained the parts of the story.

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