What does Aram experience when he tries to ride the white horse in "The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse" by Saroyan?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aram encounters a number of experiences while riding the horse in the short story “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse” by William Saroyan.

When his cousin arrives with the horse in the early morning, Aram is filled with excitement and disbelief. He expresses his feelings by saying, “In the first place, my earliest memories had been memories of horses and my first longings had been longings to ride.”

Mourad encourages him to hurry, and the two ride the white horse together. As they ride, they allow the horse to free rein, and he runs at his pleasure.

We rode and my cousin Mourad sang. For all anybody knew we were still in the old country where, at least according to some of our neighbors, we belonged. We let the horse run as long as it felt like running.

Mourad orders Aram to dismount and allow him to ride alone. Aram questions whether he can ride alone when his cousin is finished.

At last my cousin Mourad said, Get down. I want to ride alone.

Will you let me ride alone? I said.

That is up to the horse, my cousin said. Get down.

The horse will let me ride, I said.

We shall see, he said. Don't forget that I have a way with a horse.

As Aram watches Mourad ride, he is filled with anticipation and the belief that he, too, has a way with the animal. Finally, Mourad allows him to mount the horse but the ride does not go as expected.

Aram, filled with fear, mounts the horse, who does not move. His cousin encourages him to kick the animal in its muscles, which causes the horse to race off. For a time, Aram is able to hang on as the horse runs wildly through a vineyard, jumping over the vines, until he is thrown from the horse, who gallops away. The pair search for more than thirty minutes before finding and cornering the animal.

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