The Black Stallion

by Walter Farley

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Topics for Discussion

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1. Characterize Alec before and after he meets the Black. Does he change in any way?

2. Are the Ramsays a typical American family? Give details to support your answer.

3. Tony comes down the street at the precise moment that Napoleon is needed to calm the Black. Mrs. Ramsay is in Chicago at the time of the match race. What other coincidences can you think of? Are there too many to be credible?

4. Almost every exchange of dialogue in the novel relates to the black stallion. Is this technique overdone? Explain your answer.

5. What are the Black's best qualities? What are the worst? Does the Black seem to behave realistically?

6. Does it seem reasonable for Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay to let Alec keep a dangerous horse and ride bareback until spring?

7. Which character is more important, Alec or the Black? Or is each of equal interest to the reader?

8. The novel gained so much popularity in the 1940s that Black Stallion Clubs began to be formed. Why is a dangerous horse an appealing character?

9. Excluding Henry, rank in order of importance to Alec four supporting human characters in the novel. Why do you rank them this way?

10. For the first third of the novel Alec appears in unusual situations and locales. Is the remainder of the novel less exciting because it is set primarily in New York and Chicago?

11. Compare Henry to Mr. Ramsay. How important is Henry? Is he interesting and likable apart from his role as Alec's helper?

12. Alec surmounts difficult problems to bring the Black to New York and race him. Would you characterize Alec as a lucky fellow, or someone whose efforts bring him success?

13. Although Pat and the captain of Alec's rescue ship are sailors and Joe Russo and Jim Neville are sportswriters, do these two sets of characters differ in any other significant way? If so, how?

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