The timeless classic Black Beauty by Anna Sewell tells the tale of a beautifully bred black horse from his birth, until his final home as an aged horse. The chapters in the novel are short and to the point, detailing many different experiences in Beauty’s life.
The overall theme is one of animal welfare and the perils of ignorance. Black Beauty is raised in a roomy meadow with plenty of grass, his mother and other horses to socialise with. He is taught manners by his mother and isn’t started in harness or under saddle until he has had a chance to fully mature.
Consequently, his first years of life are incredibly pleasant and all he knows is kindness from people. In time Black Beauty is sold to another knowledgeable household. He is again treated kindly, but is introduced to a mare who hasn’t been handled well most of her life.
In time Black Beauty needs to be sold because of health problems with his owners. He then finds himself on an incredible journey of being used and sold, mistreated, used and sold.
Each of the horses Beauty meets on his journeys teach him further about the harsh life that can be led under a cruel or ignorant master. This makes him all the more thankful for the owners who do right by him. Unfortunately in time, he finds he is introduced to more who are ignorant and cruel.
Black Beauty is an enlightening tale about horse welfare. It shows how an expensively bred and well trained horse can in time be mistreated, hurt and deemed not worth much. It is a sobering tale but one with an ever timely message. Thankfully, it ends on a positive note for the main character.
Author: Anna Sewell
Fiction – teen
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