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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Describe the practical lessons on horse care provided in Black Beauty. Which of these teachings still apply? What techniques have been developed since Sewell's time to improve horse care?

2. Captain served in the cavalry in the Crimean War, and his first owner may well have been killed in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Write a report on this war or this battle, or write a story about one of them from Captain's perspective.

3. An early reviewer said that if the movement for humane treatment of animals had produced its own work against cruelty to animals, it could not have written anything more useful than Black Beauty. Find several passages from the book that argue for the humane treatment of animals and explain how each of these arguments is stated.

4. Explain how Sewell's experiences influenced her to be an active advocate for the humane treatment of animals and to write Black Beauty. Among the various influences, consider her Quaker background and her lifelong love of animals, especially horses.

5. Compare the effects Black Beauty had on the movement for the humane treatment of animals with the effects Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had on the anti-slavery movement in the U.S.

6. Compare Black Beauty to George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind. How do they treat the London cabs? Do you think MacDonald's book influenced Sewell? Why or why not?