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What is the theme of Black Beauty?

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oluam | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 14, 2007 at 8:15 PM via web

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What is the theme of Black Beauty?

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted October 14, 2007 at 9:32 PM (Answer #1)

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The main theme of Black Beauty is the care of animals, particularly horses.  Many people have said that Sewell could have written a non-fiction text describing the care of horses instead of Black Beauty because there is so much in it on how to care for them.  In this care, Sewell also alerts the reader to the abuse of animals.  The reader wanted to gain sympathy from her readers for these animals in an attempt to help end the abuses.

One other theme would be morality and righteousness.  Sewell was raised as a Quaker and therefore had a strict personal code of conduct.  This strict behavior is seen throughout the work. 

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shirleychen16 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM (Answer #1)

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The theme of black beauty is that faith and trust are much better than animal cruelty. Anna Sewell realised this and wrote a book from the perspective of a horse to convey the message to other readers. This was written during a time when horses were still in common use. To stay fashionable, many owners used the horse bearing rein to look good in front of their friends, as Anna Sewell points out. This book teaches us to be kind to people and animals alike.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM (Answer #2)

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The theme of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty is primarily the treatment of horses and secondarily the treatment of other animals. Anna Sewell herself was an activist, extremely concerned with humane treatment of horses and wrote the book from the point of view of the horse to arouse in her readers compassion for animals. She was specifically opposed to the bearing rein, which she thought especially cruel because it held the horses’s neck in a very awkward position.. She also was an active member of the temperance movement and alcohol abuse appears as a secondary theme in the novel.

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