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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 402

My Name Is Aram, one of William Saroyan’s major works, is a collection of short stories that explores conflict between the personal and the official. Aram tells the stories as an adult remembering his boyhood in an Armenian American family.

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In the first story, “The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse,” readers meet Aram’s magical cousin Mourad, who can steal a horse without penalty and without doing harm. In “The Journey to Hanford” the magical one is Uncle Jorgi, who pretends subservience to the official world, but plays his music anyway, instead of working in the fields. In “The Pomegranate Trees” Uncle Melik, lover of beauty, fails at his dream of growing pomegranates, but recognizes that the essence of beauty comes from within and is indestructible. In “One of Our Future Poets, You Might Say” Aram understands that a future poet does not have the approval of officialdom.

“The Fifty-Yard Dash” shows the folly of depending on the inner way without making a corresponding effort in the outer. In “A Nice Old-Fashioned Romance, with Lyrics and Everything,” Aram’s teacher, Miss Daffney, chooses official rules over personal affection. In “My Cousin Dikran, the Orator” a second-generation Armenian boy goes all the way over to officialdom, giving a prizewinning oration that is logical but wrongheaded.

In “The Presbyterian Church Choir Singers” Aram is paid by an elderly Christian lady to sing in a church choir. Here, a talent that should express the personal is hired to perform without joy. In “The Circus” Aram and a friend choose the personal—the...

(The entire section contains 402 words.)

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