Black Beauty Analysis & Thoughts

Nov 3, 2011

Black Beauty has had 9 masters over her lifetime, but only 5 of them were good to her. Here is a list of her masters:
Her birth master, “Master”
Squire Gordon of Birtwick Park
Mr. York
Mr. Barry (whose groom was Filcher)
Jerry Barker, the nice cab driver
Jakes, driver for the corn dealer
Mr. Skinner, mean cab driver
Mr. Farmer Thoroughgood
Miss Ellen

A few words about the masters:

Squire Gordon was very good to Beauty, and she loved the three happy years she spent there. But the mistress got sick and had to move to warm places.

Jerry Barker, a cab driver whose real name was Jeremiah, was great to Beauty. He had a nice daughter and son and his wife was named Polly. But he got dangerously ill, and the family moved to the country. (click title for more)

Do not you think it is odd that both of these exceptionally nice masters had to move because of health-related family matters?

The only mean horse that Black Beauty ever met was Ginger, but they grew up to be best friends. Ginger had suffered a harder life than Beauty, so it was only natural for her to be a little mean-tempered sometimes. One day, when Beauty was still Jerry Barker’s cab horse, a pitiful sight of a horse pulled up a cab, and Beauty saw it was his old friend Ginger with the same chestnut color, although the once shiny and glossy coat was now beaten up and missing in places. She looked half-dead, so Beauty wanted to believe that this horse was not Ginger, but it was. Later, they saw a dead horse being towed to the burial place on a cart, and Beauty saw the chestnut color and hoped it was Ginger, to end her long suffering.

Merrylegs was a fat gray pony, but it’s not clear whether he was a boy or a girl. I think Merrylegs is male, but there is no conclusive evidence or proof. What do you think? Write your answer in the “Comments.” Anyhoo, Merrylegs was often thought of as a machine by the little boys, and they mistreated him cruelly, by hitting him with sticks to make him keep going.

Speaking of little boys mistreating horses, there are boys who are awfully mean in this book to the horses and not just to Merrylegs. I mean a different crowd than the ones mentioned above. I shall further explain:

Case 1: Black Beauty lived with her mother Duchess with Mr. Master, their first master. The one bad thing was that there was a boy named Dick and he liked to steal blackberries from Mr. Master and throw stones at the horses, which hurt a lot if he didn’t miss (he usually didn’t).

Case 2: Filcher was employed as the groom when Beauty was under the care of Mr. Barry, her fourth owner. Filcher brought a child everyday with him to work, and the child stole Beauty’s oats, making her very thin. The child and Filcher both went to jail after that.

Case 3: The last incident involves Ginger. A long time ago, in her past, another boy threw stones at her. It hurt!

Now we come to another dispute between the book and myself. Is Black Beauty a “he” or a “she”? Personally, the book implies that Beauty’s a “he,” but I like to pretend to myself that “he’s” a girl.

I think the illustrator of this book is very nice; the wonderful black-and-white pictures keep me on my toes as I excitedly flip the page for more. I don’t know how I know but I can feel inside that the illustrator is a lady; and not to be a prejudiced person, that is, but I can feel it when I see the pretty little girls riding Merrylegs in their pink and lavender frilly party dresses, drawn with so much emotion.