Discuss the Garoghlanian tribe in "The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse."

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sullymonster's profile pic

Posted on

The Garoghlanian is a fictitious tribe of Armenian descent.  This short story is part of a book that centers around an American born boy, being raise by the tribe that has now immigrated to California.  Aram, the boy, must find a way to integrate the culture of the family - the tribe - with the culture of his life in California. 

In this story, as in all the stories, readers learn that the Garoghlanian tribe values honesty above all else.  Material wealth is not important to the tribe members - being true to yourself and to your family is what makes a man good.  The tribe believe deeply in spiritual life as well, that humans have a soul that can exist outside the body. 

This specific story shows that the tribe does not behave according to the laws of society, but to their own sense of morality.  Although the boys have technically stolen the horse, they are not reprimanded.  This also reinforces the tribe's disregard for material wealth.  The tribe recognizes that the boys are just trying to explore their territory, to learn and to grow.  The overall sense is "no harm, no foul." 

ms-charleston-yawp's profile pic

Posted on

I think what is throwing a lot of our educators is the reference to the Garoghlanian as a "tribe" instead of as eNotes refers to it as a "family."  Let's consider them the same here.  Further, because you refer to it as a "tribe," I will also refer to it that way.  Quite simply, the Garoghlanian tribe is known for its poverty and its honesty.

To insult the honor of the Garoghlanian family would cause much more trouble than the loss of a horse, disrupting the peace of the community.

First, let's discuss the importance of its poverty.  The Garoghlanian tribe is part of an Armenian community.  They live in the fruit vineyards of California, and they are 100% FICTIONAL.  But why is their poverty important?  It is important because it is Mourad's poverty that convinces many in the tribe that he stole the horse. 

Second, let's discuss the importance of honesty to the Garoghlanian tribe.  Because of this tribal trait, eNotes explains that "it is unthinkable that Mourad could have stolen the horse."  But the author cleverly gets around this by stating that Mourad may be just like his uncle:  crazy. 

The reality of the situation is that all suspicions of the tribe are (kind of) correct.  Mourad IS poor, so he must BORROW the horse until Aram learns how to ride it.  In the interim, we learn that Mourad sings wildly (and does other "crazy" things) just like his uncle.  Sure enough, Aram learns to ride and the two return the horse.  How long does it take Aram?  ... The answer is in the title!


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