(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Hinton again uses the theme of the teenage youth maturing as expressed in the central character of Tex. In fact, Tex as a novel is again the story of a narrator who (like Ponyboy in The Outsiders, 1967) is made to undergo some of the most intensive weeks of his life. At the end the reader again sees the character come to a new realization about himself and his world, though this new insight is achieved subtly.

The theme of alienation again appears in Tex, as it does in all Hinton novels. Tex feels apart from his world, a world that seems to be beyond his control most of the time; for example, he loses his treasured horse, Negrito, who is sold by Tex's brother to get food for them. The scene of loss is part of the high drama in the book. Cole Collins, the father of Jamie, does not approve of Tex and his brother for reasons Tex cannot completely understand. Finally, Tex feels intensely alienated from his father — he is not his father's child. The interview Tex has with his father after learning this startling fact is among the very best scenes in the novel; it is also a mark of Tex's growth toward maturity.

(The entire section is 207 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Tex faces many life changes during the course of Tex; like many young adolescents, he wants to avoid dealing with them. To escape his problems, he attends the local fair—riding the rides and losing himself amongst the happy people.

Tex knows that Mason is determined to leave home; but he is annoyed that Mason will no longer go with him to the fair. This action represents Mason's embracing of adulthood and inevitable separation from Tex. Rejecting adulthood, Tex childishly says to Mason, "I ain't going to outgrow it, either. I'll think the Fair is fun no matter how old I get."

As is typical of storybook characters at the fair, Tex has an encounter with a fortune-teller. She informs him that change is inevitable, but it doesn't have to change him:

Your next year change. My advice. Don't change. Your future. There are people who go, people who stay. You will stay.

The fortune-teller's words bother him. Later, he learns that Jamie and Mason are leaving. Eventually, he accepts these events. He realizes that change will come and that people who are important to him will leave. Others will stay. He also recognizes that one day he will choose his own fate: whether to stay in Oklahoma or leave, like his brother.

Tex's education does not take place only in school; it involves learning about what it takes to be a man from other men and...

(The entire section is 559 words.)