What have we learned about Albert's father in War Horse?

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We learn a lot of things about Albert's father. First of all, he's a hopeless drunk who spends most of his time in an alcoholic stupor. (Not exactly the best role model for young Albert.) Despite his alcoholism, however, Albert's father proves to be quite an astute businessman. He sells...

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We learn a lot of things about Albert's father. First of all, he's a hopeless drunk who spends most of his time in an alcoholic stupor. (Not exactly the best role model for young Albert.) Despite his alcoholism, however, Albert's father proves to be quite an astute businessman. He sells Joey the horse to the military for the princely sum of £40, which is considerably more than he paid for it.

Before he sold the horse, Albert's father was rather cruel towards the poor creature. Believing horses to be stupid, obstinate creatures—look who's talking!—Albert's father constantly subjects Joey to brutal whippings as a way of keeping him in line. At one point, he even threatens to shoot him if he doesn't do as he's told.

On the whole, then, what we find out about Albert's father doesn't exactly endear him to us. Later on in the story, however, we learn a lot more about him that paints him in a more sympathetic light. Albert's father openly regrets selling Joey to the military. He also shows he has the capacity for change by dragging himself out of the booze-soaked mire of alcoholism. Far from being the one-dimensional bad guy we always thought he was, it turns out that Albert's dad is actually a much more complicated and more sympathetic character than we'd been led to believe.

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