Study Guide

Black Beauty Man and the Natural World

By Anna Sewell

Man and the Natural World

This is a no-brainer: If you had to pick a primary focus for this book, it would be the relationship between humans and animals. Black Beauty explores this relationship in all of its complexity, from the symbiotic closeness of a compatible horse and rider to the cruel, slave-like treatment some animals suffer at the hands of thoughtless owners. Humans and animals—and specifically, horses—depend on each other in this book, for good and for bad, and sometimes even to survive.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. In this book, is the relationship between men and horses like that of master and slave, is it closer to parent and child, or is it something else entirely? Why? Back your answer up with evidence from the text.
  2. How do animals fit into urban life in the city of London? Does London seem like a good place for horses? Why or why not? Be specific, please.
  3. Do the horses in this book seem more like humans or more like animals? Why?
  4. Anna Sewell gives us a lot of instruction on how to properly care for a horse in this book. How does she teach these lessons?

Chew on This

The relationship between a human and a horse can be loving and close, or hellish and abusive—it all depends on the human.

Humans have a lot of control over animals, and when they use this control for useless, selfish reasons, animals suffer needlessly.

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