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Why do you think Hughes chose an animal like a horse?

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beraterkilet | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM via web

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Why do you think Hughes chose an animal like a horse?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM (Answer #1)

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The propensity to link Hughes with the Romantic tradition arises in large part with his association to animals and the role they play in his writing.  The choice of a horse in his story is reflective of this.  I tend to think that one particular reason why the horse is chosen is that the horse is traditionally an animal thought to be tamed.  The concept of "taming a horse" is reflective of human control over animals.  Hughes inverts this with his story in which how the horse attacks the protagonist.  If one wished to see the horse as a reflection of the man's past, there is a conflict and a confrontation in which the man is unable to "tame" this aspect of his being.  The choice of a horse is also reflective of an adversary that challenges the man.  If Hughes had chosen an owl or a mouse, the confrontation between man and animal would not have had as much relevance or as much of a challenging element. In selecting the horse, the man confronts his own vision of self, a force that is equally as powerful as the man's current being.  It is in this where the horse proves to be unable to be tamed, something that challenges the man into wondering about himself and his own sense of being in the world.  It is here where the selection of the horse bears significance and relevance.

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