Style and Technique (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Saroyan adds to the warmth and gentleness of the story of the borrowed horse by making the narrator a child, a technique that also suggests that the story might be viewed by a child as a lesson in human relations to be carried into and acted on in adulthood. Saroyan does not sugarcoat his view of childhood, however, as Aram’s continuing inability to ride the horse both reminds the reader that all childhood dreams do not come true and enlists the sympathy of the reader through the technique of the self-deprecating narrator. As such a narrator is not threatening to the reader, it is easier to believe in and participate in his experiences.
Perhaps “listener” is a better term than “reader” when discussing the audience of Saroyan’s stories, as the folk tradition from which his works come suggests an oral presentation that is often missing in the modern, media-dominated world. It is much easier to understand the power of a character such as Uncle Khosrove, for example, if the listener can hear the storyteller bellow his remarks, and the emotions behind the apparently off-center conversations of the people in the story can be better grasped if the teller reads the story aloud with an ear and a voice for the underlying meanings.
Bibliography (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Balakian, Nona. The World of William Saroyan. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1998.
Calonne, David Stephen. William Saroyan: My Real Work Is Being. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.
Floan, Howard R. William Saroyan. New York: Twayne, 1966.
Foard, Elisabeth C. William Saroyan: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989.
Foster, Edward Halsey. William Saroyan. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University Press, 1984.
Foster, Edward Halsey. William Saroyan: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1991.
Hamalian, Leo, ed. William Saroyan: The Man and Writer Remembered. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1987.
Haslam, Gerald W. “William Saroyan.” In A Literary History of the American West, edited by Thomas J. Lyon et al. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1987.
Keyishian, Harry, ed. Critical Essays on William Saroyan. New York: G. K. Hall, 1995.
Lee, Lawrence, and Barry Gifford. Saroyan: A Biography. 1984. Reprint. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
Leggett, John. A Daring Young Man: A Biography of William Saroyan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Saroyan, Aram. William Saroyan. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.
Whitmore, Jon. William Saroyan: A Research and Production Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.