Before we talk about horses in literature, we need to fully understand what is literature. Literature is the creative writing of a nation, people, group or culture. It simply means history. Now in literature we have the different stylistic devices used but in this article we will deal with symbolism.
Horses in literature and art
Now a horse is one of the symbols used in literature. If you have a closer look at the horse you will be able to identify that some of its characteristics are similar to those of man. Some of the characteristics include; fertility, sensitivity, strength, selfishness, anger, stubbornness and stupidity. Those characteristics are the ones that create a natural companionship with man in both work and art.
The natural companionship with man involves serving man in war, horse racing hunting, and also in agriculture in some places. So literature is really history and we find that a horse contributes to a bigger part of history. For instance, if we go back to the olden days, we find that there were no things like vehicles so people mainly used horses as their means of transport when going to war. A horse also played a big part in civilization. Some people may wonder just how did it contribute to civilization? Well, long ago, the horse was just like any other wild animal. However, people started to domesticate it and the domestication was wide spread during a short period of time.
Horses are mostly used in children’s literature because children relate well with animals so it will be easier for them to understand the part of literature that is being taught to them. Come to think of it if you give a child two parts of literature to read one you have drawn a picture of a horse and the other just plain, the child will likely get attracted to the one with a horse picture on it.
In literature the beauty of the horse is an aspect. However, each color of a horse has a different meaning. For example, a black horse represented mystery, death, night and secret. A white horse represented light, sun, resurrection and also day. Sometimes horses are related to the sun, moon and water. They act as mediators between earth and heaven. Horses also symbolizes power. For example a person riding a white horse shows that the particular person is a hero or a savior. So a horse has a very rich history with humankind.
Literature mostly deals with culture and we find that a horse has different meanings in different cultures. In Celtic culture, the horse is used as a symbol of war and victory. The Greco-Romans used horses as symbols for honor and virility. In Hindu culture the horse is linked to their god varuna and a white horse is believed to be the final incarnation of vinshu. In Chinese culture, the horse symbolizes love, endurance and stability
In poems, you find that poets have used the horse to represent emotions. This is even quite evident in some of the most notable pieces composed.
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