What is the theme of Black Beauty?

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The underlying theme of Black Beauty—i.e. a theme that's not explicitly articulated—is the fundamental unity of every living thing. In writing the book, Anna Sewell undoubtedly wanted to draw the attention of Victorian England to the appalling state in which many animals were kept. But underlying this was a firm belief in the interconnectedness of every living thing, man and animal, flora and fauna.

It is only by seeing ourselves as part of a much bigger whole that we can begin to develop the kind of lasting empathy for animals that Sewell wants us to feel. It's not enough to read about the many examples of animal cruelty and exploitation in the book and say "That's terrible! We must do something." What we need to do is to change our whole attitude towards animals once and for all. And that can only be done if we join with Sewell in seeing ourselves as related to our fellow creatures as part of a vast cosmic unity.

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seaofknowledge eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The theme is the main topic, idea, or message in a piece of writing.

The theme of Black Beauty is most definitely that horses (as well as all animals and also people) ought to be treated kindly, ethically and humanely.

The book is about the life story and experiences of a horse called Black Beauty who is treated well by his owner in the beginning of his life but is later mistreated by other owners. The story describes how horses were often treated badly in Victorian England and how the animals suffered injury and sometimes even death due to the mistreatment.

The book also underlines...

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shirleychen16 | Student

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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