It is not so frequent to find a novel written with an animal as the main character and the story revolving primarily around him. Nevertheless, there are writers like Marguerite Henry who writes animal stories with so much fascination and passion, one of which is the Black Gold. It was based on true-to-life experiences set during the early 1990s in Oklahoma and Kentucky. Mixing her vast knowledge about the topic and her creative talent in writing, Marguerite Henry was able to weave a story with extraordinary characters confronted with extraordinary conflicts.
Brief Summary The story evolved in the story of a colt named Black Gold, following his adventures being a race horse. He was regarded by many as weak and not good in racing since he possesses a smaller body compared to other horses. But through the help of his trainer Hanley Webb and rider Jaydee Mooney, the colt started to win and finally gained victory in the Kentucky Derby. His success continued to flourish until he got injured in one of the races he joined. His leg got a quarter crack. Eventually, the colt died.
Black Gold was given a burial in the middle of a field in New Orleans. Analysis of the Characters Being an animal is not a reason to live a life less simple. It is very much evident in the story of Black Gold. His life is consisted of complex occurrences that can be considered as more intricate when compared to lives of other people. His birth was a product of a dream. Al Hoots, the owner of Black Gold’s mother named U-See-It, dreamt that if he will breed U-See-It to a leading sire, the mare shall give birth to the horse that will win in the Kentucky Derby.
As a result, Hoots tried to mate U-See-It to a stallion named Black Toney. The money Hoots used came from the oil that during that time was being excavated from their land in Oklahoma. Here is where the name Black Gold originated. Among the individuals who imparted time and dedication to Black Gold was his rider Jaydee Mooney. Jaydee Mooney was the one who initially believed in the capacity and talent of Black Gold: “ …us Mooneys always try. We do our best…” ( p. 108). However, his spirit was pushed into limits when Black Gold got injured several days before the Derby: ” …
It was the first loss for the team of Black Gold and Jaydee Mooney. Was it the soreness in his foot showing up again-the same trouble he’d had the week before the Derby? … ” (p. 143). Nevertheless, Jaydee Mooney proved to be not only as a rider but a friend as well to Black Gold, especially when the horse died. Analysis of the Plot Since the book was based from true stories and actual experiences, Marguerite Henry wrote it by narrating events in chronological order. Although written in this manner, the book is not boring and dragging to read.
It is because the plot itself is a compelling one that catches and drawn immediately the attention of its readers. She used literary devices so as to show her creativity and mastery in handling and writing a topic such as that presented in the book. Henry was also successful in presenting transition of events. Every chapter in the book promises a more interesting and intense happenings from previous events and chapters. In addition, Henry was effective in inflicting transitional devices that guide the readers while reading.
The use of illustrations in the book helped in the proper interpretation of events in the story since the readers will be carefully guided while going on through the story. However, the use of these illustrations somehow gives an impression that Black Gold is a children’s book. But all in all, the story’s plot, as well as the book in general, was a well- crafted depiction of an extraordinary tale. Reference Henry, M. ( 1957). Black Gold. Illinois: Rand McNally