Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 335
1. Read at least part of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and two or three short commentaries on that long novel. Compare Defoe's treatment of the incidents with Farley's The Black Stallion. Are the two novels more alike or different?
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2. What characteristics do Arabian horses possess? Find information about three or four other kinds of horses, and explain how they differ from Arabians.
3. Read Farley's nonfiction book How to Stay Out of Trouble with Your Horse: Some Basic Safety Rules to Help You Enjoy Riding (published in 1981) and investigate several other instructional sources on the subject. How accurate is The Black Stallion in light of the facts about riding a horse for pleasure?
4. What realistic elements does the novel include? What unrealistic ones appear? Is The Black Stallion more a work of realism or fantasy?
5. Compare The Black Stallion with Anna Sewell's Black Beauty (1877) or Marguerite Henry's King of the Wind (1948) or Born to Trot (1950). Comment in particular on realism, plot, and general interest of the novels.
6. How are racehorses bred and trained? Does the Black's life significantly resemble the actual experience of a racer? Consult Farley's biography Man O' War, if you wish.
7. What aspects of the novel would you change if you gave it a modern setting? Include details about the region near the Gulf of Aden and ships as well as American life.
8. Farley largely omitted female characters from this novel, but there is an important one in The Black Stallion and the Girl. Read the novel and assess its accuracy in light of the role women currently have in professional racing. Do they work as jockeys? If so, have any gained as much prominence as male jockeys?
9. Read John Steinbeck's novella The Red Pony (1945). Is it easier to identify with Steinbeck's major character Jody or with Farley's Alec? Which major character grows up more in the course of his story?
10. View The Black Stallion motion picture of 1979 and compare it to the novel. How are they alike and different? Which has greater appeal?