Half Broke Horses

by

Jeannette Walls

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Lily’s younger brother by two years. Charming and gregarious, Buster starts attending school at age ten and continues through eighth grade, figuring that this is all the education he needs to be a rancher. He falls for and later marries Dorothy Clemens, and the two raise their family on the KC Ranch.

Buster Quotes in Half Broke Horses

The Half Broke Horses quotes below are all either spoken by Buster or refer to Buster. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Half Broke Horses published in 2010.
Chapter 2  Quotes

Mom and Dad always talked as if it was a matter of course that Helen and I would marry and Buster would inherit the property, though I had to admit I'd never actually met a boy I liked, not to mention felt like marrying. On the other hand, women who didn't marry became old maids, spinsters who slept in the attic, sat in a corner peeling potatoes all day, and were a burden on their families, like our neighbor Old Man Pucket’s sister, Louella.

Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
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Half Broke Horses PDF

Buster Character Timeline in Half Broke Horses

The timeline below shows where the character Buster appears in Half Broke Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
As Lily, her younger brother Buster, and their younger sister Helen try to bring the family cows in from the pasture,... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mom is closest with Helen, who inherited her dainty features and constitution. She dotes on Buster as the future of the family, and who Lily notes is “one of the fastest... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
That fall Lily turns twelve and Buster enrolls in a Jesuit school, despite being two years younger than Lily. When Lily turns... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
...on the dogs, which he plans to breed. Lily is outraged, especially upon learning that Buster gets to stay in school because he is a boy. The ranch is in mild... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
That summer Buster finishes eighth grade and does not feel the need to continue to high school, having... (full context)
Chapter 3 
...she left, though in good condition, and she notices how much older her family looks. Buster and Dorothy are now married, and the latter basically runs the ranch. Mom frets about... (full context)
Chapter 4
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
...there are many cars in Santa Fe, things have changed little back at the ranch. Buster and Dorothy have children, Mom seems frail, and Helen is working as a clerk in... (full context)
Chapter 7
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
...a shortage of gasoline. Mom has died while Lily was studying in Phoenix, and now Buster and Dorothy have put Dad in a nursing home. Dad begs Lily to come see... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Dad left the KC Ranch to Buster and the homestead on Salt Draw to Lily, but also owed thousands in back taxes.... (full context)