Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 7

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 7

Ginger

  • Beauty gives us a little interlude by telling us Ginger's story, which is very different from his own childhood. Or more like colthood? Well, you know. "If I had had your bringing up, I might have had as good a temper as you, but now I don't believe I ever shall" (7.2), Ginger says, explaining her bad habits. Do tell, Ginger.
  • Ginger explains to Beauty that she was taken from her mother as soon as she was weaned and placed with other colts who didn't care for her. She didn't have a kind master, either: "The man that had the care of us never gave me a kind word in my life" (7.4). She says he wasn't cruel, just that he didn't pay attention.
  • She was kept in a field where boys often threw stones at the colts, hurting one of them, and this made her decide that young boys were her enemies.
  • Her breaking-in was rough, in contrast to Beauty's; as Ginger describes it, they taught her to use a bit and bridle by force, then kept her in a stall much too long without giving her a chance to run.
  • Ginger thinks one of her masters, Mr. Ryder, could have been kind, but he'd passed the care of his horses to his son Samson, who wasn't gentle at all—"only hardness, a hard voice, a hard eye, a hard hand, and I felt from the first that what he wanted was to wear all the spirit out of me, and just make me into a quiet, humble, obedient piece of horse-flesh" (7.7).
  • Ginger adds that he was probably a drunk, and that one day after he'd been drinking, Samson carelessly hit her hard with a rein while riding, causing her to rear up. He beat her for doing it, and she began to buck until she threw him. She was cut and injured by his beating, but no one came to help her.
  • After a long day, Mr. Ryder found Ginger and at last began to care for her injuries. Ginger snapped at Samson when she saw him, and Mr. Ryder lectured his son for treating Ginger badly, saying, "a bad-tempered man will never make a good-tempered horse" (7.9). There's a truth bomb for you.

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