A Man Called Horse Literary Elements

A Man Called Horse Literary Elements


Short story

Setting and Context

The story starts in Boston, America, and continues in the Wild West. Basing on the author’s working the actions must have taken place before the Civil War, when the West had not been conquered yet.

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person limited

Tone and Mood

The tone of the story is rather depressing. First the hero cannot find his place in that world, later he is captured by hostile Indians and is treated as an animal. The mood does not become cheerful to the end as well, too many deaths, and too much mourning.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the story is a white man, later called Horse. The antagonist is an Indian tribe called Crows.

Major Conflict

The major conflict stands within the very white man, who is discontent of his secure life and goes to the West to look for his equals. This conflict of his inner search becomes the main of the story.


The climax occurs when Horse admits old woman as his mother and agrees to stay, even though he has no such an obligation.


From the very beginning of the story there seem to be changes in the life of the main hero. Notwithstanding the facts of his prosperous and secure life something dangerous is about to happen to the hero, and it becomes clearer when he decides to start for the unconquered yet Wild West.


The author does not say much of the character of the main hero, we know that he is not satisfied with his life, and there are people he does not respect, so the conclusion may be made that he was rather impudent.


The author alludes to the Wild West, describing how dangerous life has been on those territories.


The author gives some descriptions of camp life of Indians, their returning from battles, hunting, celebrations of victories and mourning for dead.


The paradox of the story is that though the white main has been enslaved, there are no other slaves in the camp of Indians. And he is not kept in the jail, or in some guarded place, but outside of the tepee the Natives live.



Metonymy and Synecdoche

The author uses sometimes a whole as a part of something, or vise verse to make the expressions flourish: “busy life of the camp swarmed around him”, “the camp moved near some trading post”.



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