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What is a good example of the atmosphere in "The Rain Horse?"

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kharsa | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 1, 2012 at 12:48 PM via web

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What is a good example of the atmosphere in "The Rain Horse?"

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM (Answer #1)

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The wood, in which the unnamed man hides from the attacking horse, is presented as a hostile, almost alive presence, providing shelter but also impeding his progress. At one point, while fleeing, he hides:

In blinding rain he lunged through the barricade of brambles at the wood's edge. The little crippled trees were small choice in the way of shelter, but at a sudden fierce thickening of the rain he took one at random and crouched under the leaning trunk.
(Hughes, "The Rain Horse," Amazon.com)

The strong adjectives create a claustrophobic sense to the wood, which seems itself to have been beaten down by the rain. Instead of easily hiding, the man must break through a bramble hedge, and the trees inside are small and whithered, not strong and tall. However, even this uncomfortable place is preferable to the hostile horse; at least the wood does not actively attack him.

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