Commentary on “The Blindfold Horse”
This passage is an early memory that appears to be rather memorable. The blindfold horse creates a striking image, and the passage is portrayed in a cinematic way by bringing the reader into the memory, then lifting them out again.
The first paragraph is purely descriptive. It draws the reader into the scene of the memory by building up the image piece by piece. It starts with a rather broad statement of “It is winter.” allowing the reader to picture a wide range of scenarios. Guppy then narrows the image further by describing the street itself. Interestingly, the first two sentences don’t contain verbs, giving the scene a sense of stillness. Then, sound and colour are introduced to this passage in the form of a “layer of ice that crunches” and an “indigo-blue patched curtain”, followed by the “whining screech” of the horse.
By building up the scene piece by piece, the reader feels drawn into the passage, and maybe even the memory of the blindfold horse, so that the idea of a blindfold horse becomes more memorable and they might sympathise with the horse.
The blindfold horse works hard all day without any reward, despite the mother’s words. This is not just a representation of the way animals are treated, it could also symbolise human interaction.
For example the horse is tied to a stone and has no choice but to keep walking in a circle. This is representative of how we are also tied to our responsibilities such as jobs and other important aspects of our lives, and although we technically have a choice, we can’t break free.
In the last line of the passage is quite striking:
“Mon frère, mon semblable…”
She states that the horse is her equal, so she might mean that it is representative of her life, that she might also be blindfolded in a sense.
This point is illustrated in the passage with the mother lying about the nature of the horse to try and keep her daughter happy. She is effectively blindfolding...
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