William Saroyan begins his short story “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse” with Aram looking back at an event from when he was nine years old. Nostalgia is when a person looks back wistfully on an event or occurrence from earlier in life. There is generally a yearning to return to that time or to remember it with great emotion, whether it was a time of great joy or sadness. In this story, Aram narrates the events while transporting the reader to a time of innocence and joy as he recounts the summer his cousin commandeered their neighbor’s white horse.
For this assignment you are being asked to examine your past for a memory of an event or time which was formative or evokes deep emotions in you. In essence, you are being asked to provide a flashback to a piece of your own history, and to expound upon it. Once you make your choice, you will determine how you want to take the reader back to that time. In this story, Aram speaks about events which occurred in his childhood. Life was good and it seemed to hold promise for the future. The author leaves the reader in suspense, wanting to know what will happen after the cousin arrives at Aram’s bedroom window in the middle of the night. The reader can predict different scenarios but must read on to see what events unfold. You can use a similar technique to tell your story.
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, my cousin Mourad, who was considered crazy by everybody who knew him except me, came to my house at four in the morning and woke me up by tapping on the window of my room.
Another example of this type of story is “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote. You may want to read the narrative to increase your understanding of how to complete this writing assignment. In Capote’s story, a man reverently looks back on a poignant time in his life, and at the relationship he had with his cousin. It is a time of deep emotion and he shares both the pleasure and sorrow in his memoir of a unique holiday tradition.