What is the theme of My Friend Flicka?
The two primary themes of Mary A. O'Hara's fine horse story, My Friend Flicka, deal with (1) the traditional conflicts of man versus nature; and (2) fantasy versus reality. Young Ken McLaughlin is a small, ten-year-old boy; his older brother, Howard, is tall and confident. Consequently, Ken retreats to a world of fantasy rather than deal with the tough, outside world of their ranch near Cheyenne, Wyoming. Ken matures rapidly during the course of the novel, in part through the realities he faces on the ranch, which he discovers is quite different from his dream world. The hardships of turn-of-the-century Wyoming are part of the real world, and death becomes a reality that he is forced to face. In the end, he grows into a youngster with many of his brother's own strong qualities.