Half Broke Horses

by

Jeannette Walls

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Rex Walls Character Analysis

Rosemary’s boyfriend and later husband, Rex is born in West Virginia and stationed at a nearby air force base. He meets Rosemary in a restaurant and immediately starts a fight when he thinks someone is flirting with her. Rex later visits Lily and Jim at their house in Horse Mesa to see Rosemary’s art, which he praises effusively. Lily believes him to be a slick troublemaker who is full of hot air, but also admits that he is extremely charming. She also admires that after he falls off a horse when riding for the first time, he gets back on. Rex shows early signs of alcoholism when he gets drunk while playing poker with the family; Lily tries to stop him from driving home, but he angrily insults her. By means of apology Rex later takes Lily flying with him. They bond over their shared dismissal of rules and regulations, as well as the fact that they have both sold bootleg alcohol. Lily worries that Rex is too unstable for Rosemary, but cannot stop the two from getting married. In the epilogue of the book, Lily notes that Rex continues to bounce between odd jobs and hatch hair-brained schemes, and the two frequently argue viciously. Rex is the father of the book’s author, Jeannette Walls.

Rex Walls Quotes in Half Broke Horses

The Half Broke Horses quotes below are all either spoken by Rex Walls or refer to Rex Walls. 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 9 Quotes

I shook my head and looked at the lilies. "I could cut you all the slack in the world, but I still think my daughter needs an anchor."

"The problem with being attached to an anchor," he said, "is it's damned hard to fly."

Related Characters: Lily Casey Smith (speaker), Rex Walls (speaker), Rosemary
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

As Rosemary climbed into the car, Rex patted her behind like he owned it, then got in beside her. They were both still laughing as Rex gunned the motor the way he always did.

Jim put his arm around me and we watched them take off up the street, heading out into open country like a couple of half-broke horses.

Related Characters: Lily Casey Smith (speaker), Jim Smith, Rosemary, Rex Walls
Related Symbols: Half Broke Horses
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Half Broke Horses LitChart as a printable PDF.
Half Broke Horses PDF

Rex Walls Character Timeline in Half Broke Horses

The timeline below shows where the character Rex Walls appears in Half Broke Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
After her third year in college, Rosemary meets Rex Walls while swimming in a canyon with her friends. He is from West Virginia and... (full context)
Women’s Strength in a Man’s World Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
Lily continues to be suspicious of Rex, who is charming but unstable. Rosemary likes Rex specifically because he has a wild streak,... (full context)
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
Rex keeps up a brave face and insists on galloping. Then the mare gets spooked and... (full context)
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
The next day Lily insists that Rex is dangerous, but Rosemary says if you worry about danger you miss out on adventure.... (full context)
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
Rex shows up with a bouquet of lilies by way of apology. Lily still insists that... (full context)
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
Rex pulls over to a trailer park and introduces Lily to Gus, an old air force... (full context)
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Connection to Nature Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
That spring, Rosemary announces she is going to marry Rex, causing Lily to remark that she is the one kid she couldn’t teach. Rex decides... (full context)
Epilogue
Poverty and the American Dream Theme Icon
Fate vs. Self-Reliance  Theme Icon
...and his wife Diane find a ranch house in the suburbs and start a family. Rex takes odd jobs and frequently smokes and drinks. Rosemary continues to paint and has many... (full context)