In "The Rain Horse," how are the man and horse similar?


Ted Hughes

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Posted on (Answer #1)

The nameless man in "The Rain Horse" who is attacked by a mysterious black horse is not fully fleshed out; he is simply a man returning home after a long absence. However, the horse is not characterized at all, being simply a force of nature with no higher purpose. The best similarity between the two is their determination:

It was definitely after him. He picked up two stones about the size of goose eggs and set off towards the bottom of the wood, striding carelessly.
It was looking out across the field towards the river. Quietly, he released himself from the thorns and climbed back across the clearing towards the one side of the wood he had not yet tried. If the horse would only stay down there he could follow his first and easiest plan, up the wood and over the hilltop to the farm.
(Hughes, "The Rain Horse,"

The horse does not leave him alone, and he fights it off with stones. Both the horse in its unwavering attacks and the man in his refusal to give in show strength of will and determination: the man wants to get to his childhood home and will not be stopped, even by a terrifying black horse; the horse wants to attack him for reasons unknown, and is able to hide and spring from cover, stealthy, quite unlike a normal horse. The horse only gives up when the man strikes it with rocks; the man only gives up after reaching his home to find that nothing has changed in his absence, and it is as if he never left at all.


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