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Sewell remembered

AnnaSewell wrote one book and that book created ripples and brought about change. She highlighted cruelty to animals, and for the first time, people began to realise the cruelties they had been inflicting knowingly and unknowingly on animals.

Anna Sewell was born on March 30, 1820, in Norfolk, England She is the author of Black Beauty. Her mother Mary Wright Sewell was a successful author of children’s books. She was home schooled till she became 12 and then the family moved to Stoke Newington. Two years later, when returning home from school, she slipped and injured her ankles. The ankle was mistreated and for the rest of her life she had to use a crutch to stand or walk. She used horse-drawn carriages if she had to travel distances. And, she grew to love these animals and wanted people to look after and treat horses kindly.

Sewell remembered

In the hope of improving Anna’s health, her father sent her to Europe. While she was there she met various writers, artists and philosophers. This opened her mind to new ideas.

A book is born

Between 1871 and 1877, Anna began to write Black Beauty. By this time, she had moved back to Norfolk, to a village called Old Catton. Her health was declining and she was confined to her bed, and even writing was difficult. She began to dictate to her mother and from 1876 she wrote on slips of paper which her mother transcribed.

Annasold the manuscript to a local publisher named Jarrolds on November 24, 1877. She was 57 years old. It was written for those who worked with horses. She said, “A special aim was to induce kindness, sympathy and an understanding treatment of horses”. But over the years, it became a classic story for kids and a bestseller too.

Five months after her book was published Anna Sewell passed away.

Black Beauty

The story is told by Black Beauty. It begins with his carefree days as a colt in an English farm with his mother. But, things change and he is sold and goes through some difficult times — even having to pull cabs in London. The story ends with his happy retirement in the country. The story takes you through incidents that happen in Black Beauty’s life, some cruel and others kind.

When Anna Sewell wrote this book, the conditions of horse-drawn cabs in London was dire. Financial hardships of the taxicab drivers caused them to treat their horses harshly. In writing this book, Anna wished to highlight the life of the horses and hoped that people would be kinder.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 6:25:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/sewell-remembered/article17743524.ece

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