Half Broke Horses

by

Jeannette Walls

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Half Broke Horses can help.
One of the “half broke horses” that Old Man Pucket gives the Caseys as repayment for killing Dad’s dogs. Patches is a pinto mare, her skin a patchwork of white, brown, and black. Lily bonds with Patches because she seems less timid and more intelligent than the other horses, and Patches becomes a part of her life for many years. Lily rides her on the 500-mile journey to and from Red Lake, and later brings her to the ranch she works on with Jim. When they leave that ranch, Lily gives Patches to the Havasupai tribe.

Patches Quotes in Half Broke Horses

The Half Broke Horses quotes below are all either spoken by Patches or refer to Patches. 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 3  Quotes

I'd been on the road, out in the sun and sleeping in the open, for twenty-eight days. I was tired and caked with dirt. I'd lost weight, my clothes were heavy with grime and hung loosely, and when I looked in a mirror, my face seemed harder. My skin had darkened, and I had the beginnings of squint lines around my eyes. But I had made it, made it through that darned door.

Related Characters: Lily Casey Smith (speaker), Mother Albertina, Patches
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Half Broke Horses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Half Broke Horses PDF

Patches Character Timeline in Half Broke Horses

The timeline below shows where the character Patches appears in Half Broke Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
...saying that though she is not a beautiful horse, she is smart. Lily names her Patches after her white, brown, and black coloring. Lily accepts that her chance at education is... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
Lily rides Patches to Red Lake, packing light and planning to stop at towns along the way. She... (full context)
Chapter 3 
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
...is hot and largely empty, apart from occasional cowboys or “wagonfulls of Mexicans.” Lily and Patches rest in the shade during the hottest parts of the day and then keep going... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
The trip to Chicago takes only four days, whereas Lily’s trip with Patches took a month to go half that distance. Lily gawks at the size of the... (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
...have children, Mom seems frail, and Helen is working as a clerk in Los Angeles. Patches is still alive and well despite being seventeen years old, and Lily relishes being able... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
...only having a year of college. Lily readily accepts and makes the long journey with Patches for the third time. This time she notices more cars on the road. Red Lake... (full context)
Chapter 7
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
...for the past eleven years. Still, Lily refuses to feel sorry for herself. She gives Patches, nearing thirty, to the Havasupai, and the family sets off for Phoenix. As they drive... (full context)