Analysis Of ' Horses Of The Night '

929 Words Nov 4th, 2015 4 Pages
Everyone has a different way to deal with overwhelming situations. It can be more difficult for people with mental illness to cope with the hardships of life. For instance, in “Horses of the Night,” the character of Chris has dissociative symptoms that can be linked to his depression. Margaret Laurence’s short story tells the story of Chris, a young teenager who moves to from a small farm to the town of Manawaka in order to go to high school. The story is told by his younger cousin, Vanessa. As she grows up, she learns that Chris is depressed. The author uses the theme of fantasy to show that he does not cope well with reality. The horses, Shallow Creek, and the children are symbols that show us the fantasy that Chris lives in.

The author uses the symbol of Shallow Creek to show how Chris needs to escape reality. Chris embellishes his description of the old shack he lived in because he can’t live in poverty. He describes the ranch in the way he wished it was: “It’s made out of trees grown right there besides the lake.” (page 579) He does this not to impress Vanessa, but because he is incapable of accepting the reality he lives in. In the fantasy world that he lives in, everything is how he dreams it was, even the lake:
It’s more like an inland sea. It goes on for ever and ever amen, that’s how it looks. And you know what? Millions of years ago, before there were any human beings at all, that lake was full of water monsters. All different kinds of dinosaurs. They all died…
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