The Rain Horse

by Ted Hughes

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In "The Rain Horse," how does Logic clash with Instinct?

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In "The Rain Horse," the line between instinct and logic is blurred. Normally, the man would play the role of Logic, while the horse would play the role of Instinct. However, because of the horse's apparent deliberation in attacking, and the man's (at first) instinctual actions, it is possible that they roles are reversed.

As he fell the warning flashed through his mind that he must at all costs keep his suit out of the leaf-mould, but a more urgent instinct was already rolling him violently sideways.
He felt certain the horse had been looking straight at him. Waiting for him?
(Hughes, "The Rain Horse,"

If it is assumed that the horse is acting with logic -- it wants to defends its territory, and keep intruders out -- then it is able to stalk and attack based on its own knowledge of the wood. The man, who is only familiar with the wood from his childhood, at first has to react with instinct and hide, running blindly. Only near the end of the story does he begin to act with logic, defeating the horse and driving it back. By embracing logic and suppressing panicked instinct, the man survives, while the horse acknowledges its defeat and remains still, watching.

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