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Plot Structure for "I'm Your Horse in the Night"


"I'm Your Horse in the Night" is a short story by Luisa Valenzuela that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, making it difficult to distinguish between the elements of the plot that have really occurred and those that are only real in the narrator's mind. The blurred lines of the plot enhance the theme, which explores how some people can give themselves over completely to love and their infatuation. The narrator concludes that it doesn't matter what really happened because she is still her lover's "horse in the night."

Backstory Barely Revealed

In the exposition to the short story, the man known simply as "Beto" to the narrator shows up at her door unexpectedly in the night. The reader learns that he is a revolutionary and that he has not spoken to the narrator in months. The opening scene shows how the narrator is willing to embrace him. She feels as much passion for him as ever, despite having not had any contact with him, or having even been given information about what he has been doing, since she saw him last. The exposition also provides valuable information for the later events of the story.

An Awakening -- or Not

The narrator awakes to find that Beto has left -- again. She receives a call from someone she thinks she knows telling her that Beto has died, but it becomes clear that the caller is simply searching for information about Beto's whereabouts. The police soon show up and search the narrator's home, breaking all her belongings. It is during the rising action that the narrator admits to herself that her encounter with Beto may not have been real and that her "only real possession was a dream." She says that she couldn't give the police actual facts.

Torturous and Tortuous Climax

In the climax of the story, the narrator is tortured for information about Beto. The reader learns that Beto abandoned her and that she hasn't heard from him in months. She says that he ran away with someone else and is in another country. The narrator seems to be telling this to the police and to herself. While there is some suggestion that she is only lying to police to save Beto, it comes across that she may actually feel this way about the man who only randomly appears in her life, possessing her mentally and physically.

Ambiguity

The resolution of the story is ambiguous; the narrator seems to have committed herself to the idea that her encounter with Beto was a dream, yet she also speculates about the possibility of the investigators finding "a Gal Costa record and a half-empty bottle of cachaca," memories from the encounter. The resolution reveals that it doesn't really matter if the encounter was real or not. The narrator pledges to Beto that "you can inhabit me whenever you wish." She gives herself over completely to her love for him.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

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