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What is an assessment of the moral values of Beauty in the novel Black Beauty?

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raihan_syahir... | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 16, 2013 at 1:37 PM via web

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What is an assessment of the moral values of Beauty in the novel Black Beauty?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM (Answer #1)

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Black Beauty is the moral director of Anna Sewell's animal autobiography. As narrator, he tells about incidents which illustrate the need for understanding and kindness toward horses. For example, After Beauty comes to live at  Birtwick, he and Ginger have a long talk in the shade one day; Ginger relates her mistreatment as a filly and young horse. Further, Ginger explains that she became ill-tempered as a result. But, when a fine old gentleman buys her and treats her kindly and talks in a soothing voice, Ginger says, "His voice did me good, and the bathing was very comfortable."

In Chapter 8, Beauty talks of the bearing rein, a cruel device in fashion at the time that prevented horses from putting their heads down:

...If you tossed your head up high and were obliged to hold it there, and that for hours together, not able to move it at all except with a jerk still higher, your neck aching till you did not know how to bear it....one day...as they were straining my head up with that rein, I began to plunge and kick with all my might. I soon broke a lot of harness and kicked myself clear; so that was an end of that place.

Through the narrative of his various experiences, Beauty allows the reader to perceive good and evil; moreover, there is a clear direction towards good behavior and the kindness to man and beast alike. After the publication of Black Beauty, reforms were effected for the better treatment of all animals.

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