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Themes

There was no room for cowardice on a World War I battlefield, so soldiers and their horses alike had to be prepared to act without hesitation in the face of certain death. In War Horse, we see courage coming from all sides of the battlefield—from soldiers on the front lines to the medics caring for the wounded. Above all, we see the courage of Joey and his pony pals, putting the lives of the soldiers first and supporting the troops no matter what. Looks like courage comes in all shapes, sizes, and species.

Questions About Courage

  1. What gives Joey courage? Is it just innate or is he inspired by others?
  2. Is Joey courageous, or is he only doing what he has to do to survive? Is there a difference?
  3. Which human soldiers perform courageous acts, and what are the consequences?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

It's a horse's nature to appear stoic and calm. This quiet strength that Joey possesses rubs off on his fellow human soldiers, giving them the courage to make it through each difficult day.

Courage isn't just for soldiers and their horses. Emilie shows courage when she stands up to the German army who want to take Joey and Topthorn. Even though she fails, standing up to them takes guts.

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