Black Beauty Questions and Answers
by Anna Sewell

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What are Black Beauty's negative traits in Anna Sewell's Black Beauty?

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Black Beauty's only real negative trait in Anna Sewell's story is his naivete. His naivete makes it difficult for him to accept what becomes of him as the story progresses. But, regardless, throughout all his tribulations, he remains the well-bred horse his mother taught him to be.

Prior to being sold for the first time, his mother warns him that there are all kinds of men in the world:

[T]here are good thoughtful men like our master, that any horse may be proud to serve; and there are bad, cruel men, who never ought to have a horse or dog to call their own. (Ch. 3, Pt. 1)

She further warns him that the more he works his hardest and is well-behaved, the more likely he will be treated well. Having been raised and broken in by gentle Farmer Grey, the news of bad men is a bit difficult for young, naive Black Beauty to get his head around. Yet, as the story progresses, he learns more about the nature of men as he is passed on from master to master, some good and caring, others foolish and cruel.

In addition to being warned about the nature of men, when he was still a young colt, his mother explains to him that he comes from a line of well-bred horses and he must "never bite or kick even in play," must work hard, and always be gentle and good (Ch. 1, Pt. 1). Due to his mother's wisdom, while his naivete makes it difficult for him to tolerate the hardships he endures, he always maintains his integrity. He is always caring, gentle, and hardworking. He is even nonjudgmental. He accepts the cruelty of men with sorrow rather than angry bitterness. He is even nonjudgmental of the poor natures of other horses he meets, such as Ginger's biting nature and Hotspur's spiritedness. By the end of the story, once he is happily back under the care of his best groom, he feels enlightened about the ways of the world due to the life's journey he has traversed and the hardships he has endured.

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