Who is a minor character in Black Beauty and why is (s)he in the story?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

More than any single work of its time, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty effected the humane treatment of horses and other animals, as well. With the narrative set in a time when horses were the means of transportation, little consideration of their feelings was often the case as men simply wanted to have them carry the heaviest loads they could and travel as fast as they could so that money could be made.  The wealthy class, who had carriages, oten bought horses for show; therefore, if these horses became marred or "defective" in any way, they were sold with no regard to their future treatment. Also, in their vanity, the owners of magnificent carriages often used inhuman measures to make the horses appear equally magnificent.

For instance, in Chapter 8 Ginger, a minor character and the stablemate of the narrator, tells Black Beauty that with her previous owner she was made to wear a bearing rein and two sharp bits, both very painful devices as the bits cut into her mouth and the bearing rein forced her to hold her head high constantly. Later in the novel, also, Ginger is victimized as she dies from pulling a heavy load.  Her poignant history is one that led to action for the humane treatment of horses.