If there's one theme that stands out in Black Beauty amid the hardships of life as a working horse, it's the theme of compassion and love. When you have no control over your fate, and when you have no choice but to work hard without complaint, there's still enjoyment in everyday life that comes in the form of friendship and affection. Beauty's story is full of close bonds with humans and other horses, and his relationships with humans and horses make his life richer and happier, even when times are tough.
Questions About Compassion and Love
How do relationships with other horses enrich Beauty's life? Whom does he seem to understand and relate to the most? Why?
Which humans does Beauty feel the most compassion for? Do those humans feel the same about Beauty?
How do compassion and love play a part in the lives of the less fortunate in this book? Remember to consider what happens when compassion and love are absent, too.
What do you think Anna Sewell is hoping her readers will learn about compassion by reading this novel? Why?
Chew on This
Even in times of suffering and hardship, Sewell wants readers to know that compassion and love can make things bearable.
In Black Beauty, compassion and empathy are key to the strong bonds between humans and their horses.