What is your opinion of the book Black Beauty?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

My opinion of this book is that it is a wonderful piece of literature. This isn't just because I am an avid horse lover—it's really a special book. I recently read it to my own children. Anna Sewell's novel was revolutionary at the time it was written, in 1877, because it told the story of a horse's life from the perspective of a horse. Horses were common in 1877 and essential to daily life. There were no animal protection or anti–animal cruelty laws back then, so, as a result, many horses suffered from bad treatment. Of course, there were those who had kind owners, as well. NPR (National Public Radio) did a segment on Black Beauty in 2012 on the show All Things Considered, which focused on what Sewell's novel did for animal rights. I will include the link below. It's worth a look.

I think the reason Sewell's novel has stood the test of time is due to its beautiful descriptive imagery, simple prose, and universal themes. One major theme in this novel is the power of kindness. That is a message that is needed throughout the world and across generations. Sewell artfully narrated the horse's life, including his different owners, friends, and various jobs. She really draws readers into the horse's life. I particularly enjoy how Sewell handles the character of Ginger. When Black Beauty meets her, she is an ill-tempered mare who bites. Through kind treatment, she improves, but then she eventually is sold and Beauty loses track of her. When Beauty is a cab horse years later, he is shocked to find Ginger emaciated, having a poor-quality coat and a terrible cough, looking weak and listless. This shows how a beautiful well-bred horse was ill-used and broken by cruel and ignorant owners. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have!

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In my opinion, Black Beauty is a wonderful piece of literature.  While many examples of "classic" literature are difficult for young readers to decipher, this novel is not.  This particular book is well written and engaging, and it can often be used as a instrument in encouraging the reader to explore other pieces of English literature, as well as additional classic literature.

The plot of the novel is easy to follow and the chapters are short, which lends to it being an enjoyable read.  In addition, the fact that the story is told from the viewpoint of the horse is interesting.  The development of setting and character in this story are exemplary; this book is quite easy to teach. 

Overall, the book is charming, but also includes serious lessons on morality.  While the author, Anna Sewell, did not intend for Black Beauty to be a children's book, it does appeal to young and adult alike.  I believe that everyone should read this novel at some point.  Fortunately, it is not a dry and difficult piece of literature, unlike some others.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial