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Black Beauty | Study Guide

Anna Sewell

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Course Hero. "Black Beauty Study Guide." May 10, 2019. Accessed January 28, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Black-Beauty/.

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Course Hero, "Black Beauty Study Guide," May 10, 2019, accessed January 28, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Black-Beauty/.

Anna Sewell | Biography

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Early Life

Anna Sewell was born on March 30, 1820, in Yarmouth, England. She was educated at home by her mother, a religious Quaker and successful writer of moral tales for children. As a young girl, Anna Sewell injured her ankle and was unable to walk long distances. Horse-drawn carriages allowed her to travel more easily, and she developed strong feelings for the horses that led them. Sewell formed definite opinions about proper care for horses, opinions that contradicted some common practices of her era.

Black Beauty

She wrote her only novel, Black Beauty, to encourage children and others who handle horses to pay attention to how horses are treated. The novel is largely didactic—Sewell provides a great deal of information about how to care for horses and what happens when they are mistreated. Heavily influenced by her mother's work and beliefs in basic Christian doctrine, she combines humane and attentive horse care with a sense of godliness. Sewell may have based the character of Black Beauty on a black horse named Bess, which belonged to her family. Because of continuing poor health, Sewell spent about six years writing Black Beauty.

Death and Legacy

Sewell died on April 25, 1878, within months of the novel's publication in 1877. Black Beauty was a remarkable success and has continued to be a top-selling children's book for more than 100 years. Sewell's love of horses and passion for animal rights make it a thought-provoking text for children of all ages as well as adults.

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