Horses of the night Helpful information - PART 1: Margaret Laurence was very clear in her purpose with her short story "Horses of the Night". The main character Chris was clearly suffering from depression and lived in a world completely made up of delusions. This story really puts the emphasis on the difficulties of someone going through depression and proving that it is something that is easily covered up. Her main purpose was to emphasize her theme and prove that people often feel the need to escape the real world but that one cannot really run away from reality. One must confront them and try and find solutions. Helpful information - PART 2: Margaret Laurence was a Canadian novelist and short story writer. She lived from 1926 - 1987. Much of Margaret's life influenced her writing. One of the main aspects that contributed to her work were her origins. Margaret Laurence grew up in small town Manitoba. This influenced much of her writing. The town in which she grew up in, Neepwa, was the influence for the town in "Horses of the Night": Manawaka. This fictional town, in Manitoba, is very similar to Neepwa. Laurence used Manawaka in many of her works, including "The Stone Angel" and "The Diviners". Helpful Information - PART 3: There is an important allusion: elegy XIII of The Art of Love by the Roman classical author Ovid (Slowly, slowly, horses of the night) --> more in depth later. Theme "Horses of the Night" discusses the need to escape reality, the necessity for it in some cases, especially when one's reality is too difficult to cope with. Chris, throughout the entire story, was trying to get away from his life, his reality.(p.294) He lived in a poor family, small house, terrible living conditions.(p.295) However when Vanessa met him for the first time she did not see that part of him. All he let on was that he was happy. He never showed any disappointed or angry emotions. He always acted indifferent, even when their grandfather was having one of his fits, yelling at him. He just let it roll off his back like water on a duck. But the narrator, Vanessa, was able to tell sometimes when he was uncomfortable. For example, whenever someone would ask about his family he was reserved in his response, "restrained". This was because he was embarrassed of his reality, and thus proving that he rather live in his own dimension.
-Chris cannot confront/accept reality, and lives in an imaginary delusion. Eg.He could not accept that he was poor so he exaggerated about Shallow Creek, leading Vanessa to believe that he lived on a lovely ranch in a house made of majestic trees, when in fact his house was an old shack.
-He also exaggerates about his horses, Duchess and Firefly, who were supposed to be fast and sleek, like race horses, when in fact these horses did not even exist. He did have horses, although they were slow plough horses, nothing like he had described or implied. Horses of the night is the story of a young girl, Vanessa and her cousin Chris. Vanessa is much younger than Chris and does not understand the difficulties of life as one grows up. Chris is going through a depression and needs to find his own means of coping with this problem. Vanessa again is in the dark about this until much later because she is too young to comprehend what it is the be in depression. Margaret Laurence tells the story of how depression can have it's effect on each person individually. That previous point leads into one of the partial themes of this short story, that of depression, and its insensibility and possibility to affect anyone. There is an ironic aspect in the story, as already mentioned, in the fact that the Great Depression is partially what causes Chris' depression. This depression links up to the main theme because it is what makes Chris feel the need to escape this world and create his own. (p.288) Chris never shows any emotion: he doesn’t react to criticism, or fights going on around him as