Black Beauty


introduction/conclusion of the book black beauty


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Black Beauty begins by describing his earliest memories. He fondly remembers the pleasant meadow and pond of his young days, under the care of his mother and a kind master. Gradually, Black Beauty matured from drinking his mother’s milk to eating grass, and with that change came more independence. Soon he was playing with all the other colts in the field, as they went galloping across the fields, kicking and biting. After one such day of play, his mother gave him life-long advice: be gentle and good in all things, work with a good spirit, and do not ever kick or bite. Black Beauty’s life would be a prime example of this advice put into practice. For now, though, he was just young “Darkie,” under the care of his mother Duchess and his master, both of whom took great care to provide him a good upbringing, safe from naughty stone-throwing boys and the like.

The end of Black Beauty’s story is an ending of peace and contentment. He spends his last days with his dear old friend Joe and a new young friend Willie, under the care of loving masters. After all his toil, all the cruel masters, all the exhaustion and whipping and the heavy loads and the tragic stories, after watching his own best friend wish for death and then die, Black Beauty comes to such a place as this. With this pleasant ending, Sewell seals her novel. No other ending would have worked in harmony with the central theme of the book: doing good and receiving goodness. This being an educational book, the one last lesson that Black Beauty’s story teaches is the lesson of death. When the mistresses agree they will never sell Black Beauty, there is a solemn idea beneath the pleasing surface of this proposal. He is getting quite old—as his caretaker mentions—and when they say will never sell him they mean that he will die soon and they will allow him to live peacefully until his time comes. His own daydreaming of long gone companions emphasizes that universal, inevitable death. For after seeing Ginger’s dead body, what else will Beauty remember but death when he dreams about Ginger and his other friends? Sewell has narrated to the reader the story of Black Beauty since his earliest days and here she is completing the cycle and reminding the reader of their own future death.