What do Joey's experiences tell you about the nature of war?
Joey's experiences are remarkably similar whether he is with the British army or the German army. Both armies treat him as a valuable member of the battalion and do not treat him as having any particular nationality. When he is trapped in no-man's land between lines of barbed wire, soldiers from the opposing armies work together to free him and agree to decide his ownership by tossing a coin. This tells us that the soldiers on either side are very similar and bore no ill will to the soldiers on the opposing side that they are trying to kill. It also shows that war has a tendency to depersonalize people and that soldiers on the ground are not the people with the differences.
Why do you think Emilie's grandfather allowed Albert to buy Joey from him?
Emilie's grandfather wanted to honor Emilie's memory and keep it alive by bringing "her" horses home; however, seeing Albert and Joey's love for each other made him realize that he could honor the spirit of Emilie with an act of pure love, which was allowing Joey to go home with his friend and master. In addition, by telling Albert about Emilie he was keeping her memory Alice for generations to come as Albert would tell people about her and her love for the horses; if Joey stayed in France with her grandfather her memory would die with him.
How does the author teach his readers about the history of World War One by using an animal as the novel's main character?
The author manages to teach the reader about WW1 by showing it through the eyes of a character that is easily identified with. It is harrowing to read of Joey's fear as the battlefield is seen almost in a neutral way, not from one side or the other. From the start of the novel, we learn how the Army obtained its horses and how they were trained. We learn about the geography of the War and also about the brutal trenches and fighting positions. We also learn about war away from the battlefield when Joey and Topthorn become ambulance horses. By using Joey as the storyteller, the author is able to teach the reader important historical details as each detail becomes part of Joey's experience.
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