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Horse Whisperer


The poem reveals that the horse whisperer is misunderstood: the people whom
he has helped turn against him because of superstition. The reference to the
tractor suggests that this change is also partly about the move from traditional
to modern techniques: there is a sense of loss at the end of the poem, suggesting
that change has not been entirely beneficial.


The "secrets" of the horse whisperer's talents in the first two verses sound very
much like magic spells: in the second stanza the narrator explains that the frog's
wishbone provides "a new fear to fight the fear of fire". When the narrator seeks
revenge (in the fourth stanza) he tells us that he uses a "foul hex", responding to
accusations of witchcraft by deciding to use it.

The horses are given a strong physicality with their "restless/hooves",
"shimmering muscles", "stately heads", "searing breath" and "glistening veins".
Some of these descriptions use a technique called synecdoche, where a part of
something is used to represent the whole: here specific parts of the horse are
used to stand for the whole horse, effectively focussing the reader's attention.

The horses are elevated by contradictory terms: they are "tender giants"; they
are "stately" but they are also innocents: he uses the simile of "helpless
children" to describe the animals.

Images are used to deliberately create confusion about when this poem is set:
"the tractor came over the fields/like a warning" but the narrator was chased
away with "Pitchforks", and the horses were used to pull ploughs in the first
stanza. This suggests that this poem is also about the conflict between
traditional and modern techniques of animal husbandry. The idea of a
crowd armed with pitchforks driving away the "demon and witch" is also iconic.

Finally, there is a suggestion that the horse whisperer is almost a horse himself
as he joins the "stampede" to leave the country when the tide turns against him.


Initially the horse whisperer is benevolent (generous), but once he has been
"scorned" he takes revenge. The first person narrative - describing the close
relationship between horse and man - encourages us to sympathise with the
narrator. Perhaps he is 'whispering' to us in the same way as he did the horses?


Horse Whisperer is a free verse composition, but Forster manipulates the form.
The stanzas shorten in length through the poem, reducing by a line in each

The momentum and the repetition emphasise the importance of this word. escape and longing for the horses he's left behind."Shire. Two lines are then dropped in the final stanza.  The content of the poem is structured around a story: the first two stanzas describe the time when the horse whisperer was valued for his work with horses. the final two stanzas show his revenge.  The final stanza uses a number of techniques to create a spell-like rhythm: the list of three breeds . This could be argued to represent various things: the change in status of the horse it the horses' pride that he misses. But it is ambiguous . or even a metaphor for the way in which rural trades and secrets are dwindling. or his own pride as a horse whisperer? . Clydesdale. or the change to his happiness.stanza until the penultimate (second to last) verse. which ends both the last two lines. the third (central stanza) provides a pivotal moment when people turn against him. Language:  There is a sense of urgency created in the first lines of the first two stanzas with the repetition of "shouted": the owners begin by needing the horse whisperer.creates a strong beat. Suffolk" . The assonance of "searing breath" and "steady tread" (the second one is almost a rhyme) builds momentum and climaxes in the repeated word "pride".

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