Study Guide

Black Beauty Writing Style

By Anna Sewell

Writing Style


Pull up a chair, grab a blanket, and maybe even put on your pajamas, because Black Beauty's going to tell you a story. Anna Sewell's writing style makes Beauty's narration sound like a beloved relative telling a tale about the good old days. Beauty gives simple, vivid descriptions of the people and places in his life, from the "clean, sweet, and airy" (4.4) stable at Birtwick to the master whose "voice was as harsh as the grinding of cart wheels over gravel stones" (37.1). By focusing on the details a horse would notice, like the smell of a stable or the tone of a voice, Sewell makes her equine narrator completely believable.

All these descriptions are short and efficient, leaving Beauty plenty of time to get straight to the action. As a narrator, he chooses specific scenes and moments in his life to retell, and always shares his opinions. It really seems like he's sitting next to you—except you'd probably notice if a horse were in your room.

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