Black Beauty

by Anna Sewell

Read time: about 6 minutes

Black Beauty is one of those novels that when they came made a huge impact on the society. It is due to the fearless critic of check reins on horses in the book that the practice of keeping check reins on horses was abolished in England. Apart from the social cause, this book turned out to be one of the most loved Children’s Classic literature. The book gave voice to animals. Black Beauty comes to life in the pages. This book deserves all the recognition it has gathered.

Cover: Black Beauty

Cover page

I was sent a copy from Rupa Publications. This is a beautiful copy from Rupa Classics. A silhouette of Black Beauty, the horse, adorns the cover. There is a beautiful green field for him to run in. The cover is going to attract a lot of attention from the kids with all the sparkles and flowers around.

I absolutely loved the cover. I own another copy of the same book which I realised a day before. I will let go of that and keep this one I guess!

Characters

The title Black Beauty comes from the main character in the book. Black beauty is a horse- the most loveable kind. He is has a black shiny coat. He is a well bred horse who was born on a farm to the most loving master. Black Beauty is aware of his status as high horse.

I was now beginning to grow handsome; my coat had grown fine and soft, and was bright black. I had one white foot and a pretty white star on my forehead.

Content

The book begins with Black Beauty describing the very first place he ever knew at home.

The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a pliers field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master’s house, which stood by the roadside; at the top of the meadow was a grove of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.

Black Beauty is taught manners by her mother. She asks him to not kick or bite. She teaches him with tenderness of a mother.

I hope you will grow up very gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play.

He soon grows up into a horse. It is time for him to leave the farm. But before that he is gently broken into. He learns the new ways of a horse and sent to another farm. Thankfully, he finds a nice home. The master treats him ever so well. He makes a few friends too. Merrylegs and Ginger keep him company in his growing up days. He gets to meet ginger once again after he changes multiple owners and not in a good way.

The story slowly goes from happy to sad when you see Black Beauty getting into the hands of bad owners. During the course of the journey he is forced to wear check reins, kept in a barn with no light which deeply affects his vision, kept in the barn with no exercise, sold to work as a cart horse etc.

They always seemed to think that a horse was something like a steam engine, only smaller. At any rate, they think that if only they pay for it a horse is bound to go just as far and just as fast and with just as heavy a load as they please. And be the roads heavy and muddy, or dry and good; be they stony or smooth, uphill or downhill, it is all the same- on, on, on, one must go, at the same pace, with no relief and no consideration.

Sewell not only puts the pains of the horses across but also talks about the meagre amounts the riders are paid. A poor man drives the cart seven days a week to make his end meets not because he is inconsiderate but because he needs to feed his family. He may love the horse but for him his family comes first. There are several issues drawn attention to in the Book with different standpoints. That is the beauty of it.

The book was written by Sewell who was in company of horse while she was growing up and this can be seen in the narration. Black Beauty is narrated extremely well with intimacy one seldom finds. The life cycle of a horse is sympathetically described and there is a constant appeal in the narration to treat animals better. This book incites all a spectrum of emotions in the reader from love to rage to sadness to pity.

This is a classic a child should grow up reading. I missed the boat, not really.

Language

The language is extremely simple, childlike. The narration as a horse is extremely intimate. The author makes you believe in the voice of Black Beauty. You almost forget that this book was actually written by a human.

Good points

I absolutely loved the cover. I do not say this often but I will seek out for more books in the Rupa Classics series. The character of Black Beauty appeals to the most inner self. You start connecting with him instantly. He has definitely reinstated my love for horses. The story is just as beautiful but sad as well. Anna Sewell is gem of a writer. I wish she has written more book. She makes you fall in love with animals.

Bad points

I am falling short of words here.

Overall

I absolutely loved the book. It is one of the classics I will always cherish.

Whom do I recommend this to

This is for those who like to read quick classics. Those who enjoy narration’s from different stand points are going to love this one too. Those who want to pass on the reading habit to children, this can be a rest start!

Quotable Quotes

If people can say, ‘Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com