Who is Ginger, and why does she behave in the way she does in Anna Sewell's Black Beauty? 

Who is Ginger, and why does she behave in the way she does in Anna Sewell's Black Beauty?

 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ginger is a second horse belonging to Squire Gordon at Birtwick Park. We first meet Ginger in Chapter 4, Part 1 of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty. She is very angry that a young horse like Black Beauty has been placed in her large loose box so that she must now stay in one of the smaller stalls. She is also described as always having her ears down and as having a very poor temper, since she is easily angered and frequently bites. Ginger and Black Beauty are partnered together in the carriage, so as the story progresses, both Black Beauty and the reader come to understand the cause of her poor temper.

After his initial encounter with Ginger, Black Beauty comes to respect Ginger, even to fall in love with her towards the middle of the story. The first time he is partnered with her in the carriage, he notes that she is a very honest, hard worker and reflects, "I never wish to have a better partner in double harness" (Ch. 5, Pt. 1). One day while out in the paddock, conversing together, Ginger explains that her own "bringing up and breaking in" were not as gentle and nurturing as Black Beauty's, which accounts for her poor temper. Ginger relays the following poor treatment she received as way of explanation for her temper: (1) no one ever cared for her; (2) no one ever spoke kindly to her; (3) boys used to wander into the field and throw stones at the horses; (4) her trainer was a hard man with a "hard voice, a hard eye, [and] a hard hand," who only sought to "make [Ginger] into a quiet, humble, obedient piece of horseflesh"; and (5) her trainer tired her out and punished her frequently (Ch. 7, Pt. 1). She further tells Black Beauty about all the various masters she had been sold to. Her first master was cruel, insisting on using a check-rein that pulls horses' heads up high and punishing her frequently; her second master was kind, but she soon came under the care of another cruel groom she had to endure until she was finally sold to kind, gentle Squire Gordon and his kind, gentle grooms.