Coal Black Horse Themes

Robert Olmstead
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Coal Black Horse.
This section contains 771 words
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War

By any standard, the novel's principle theme is war. The narrative opens during the United States Civil War and the major narrative events of the novel revolve around the battle of Gettysburg and tangential circumstances surrounding that conflict. "Coal Black Horse" opens with Hettie Childs' precognitive vision of her husband's death at the battle of Gettysburg—she does not name the locale but she gives a precise date. Robey Childs then proceeds across the country for about seven weeks of travel, passing from old battlefields with decaying corpses to ever-newer battlefields and greater destruction. He comes across thieves, murderers, deserters, and rapists as he proceeds ever closer to war. He witnesses slavers, adventurers, and other distasteful characters going about their own personal greedy business, profiteering from the destruction and chaos found on the edges of warfare. The closer he approaches to the actual battlefields the more intense...

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This section contains 771 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Coal Black Horse Study Guide
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