The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy
By C.S. Lewis

“The Horse and His Boy” by C.S. Lewis is a timeless classic that uses various literary devices to convey its themes of love, friendship, and personal growth. Through vivid imagery, allegory, and foreshadowing, Lewis takes readers on a journey through the magical world of Narnia and teaches valuable life lessons along the way.

Themes 📚

  1. Identity and Self-discovery: The novel explores the themes of identity and self-discovery through the experiences of the main characters, particularly Shasta and Aravis, who both struggle to find their true identity and purpose in life.
  2. Friendship and Loyalty: The importance of friendship and loyalty is also a recurring theme in the novel, as the characters learn to rely on each other and trust in their friendships to overcome the challenges they face.
  3. Betrayal and Forgiveness: Betrayal and forgiveness are explored in the novel through the actions of characters such as Prince Rabadash and Hwin, who both betray others but later seek forgiveness for their actions.
  4. Freedom and Independence: The theme of freedom and independence is also prevalent in the novel, as characters such as Bree and Aravis struggle to break free from the constraints of their societal roles and find their own path in life.
  5. Good versus Evil: The novel also explores the classic theme of good versus evil, as the characters are pitted against villains such as Prince Rabadash and the Tisroc, who seek to do harm to others for their own gain.
  6. Destiny and Fate: Destiny and fate are also explored in the novel, particularly through the prophetic dreams that the characters experience and the sense of inevitability that comes with them.
  7. Culture and Tradition: The theme of culture and tradition is explored through the different cultures and customs of the characters in the novel, particularly the Narnians and the Calormenes, who have different values and beliefs.
  8. Coming of Age: The novel also deals with the theme of coming of age, as the characters experience growth and change throughout their journey and come to terms with the challenges of adulthood.
  9. Courage and Bravery: Courage and bravery are important themes in the novel, as the characters are forced to confront their fears and stand up for what they believe in.
  10. Nature and the Environment: The natural world is a key theme in the novel, as the characters travel through different landscapes and interact with various creatures, both friendly and hostile.

Use of Literary Devices ✍🏽

  1. Foreshadowing: Clues about future events are given throughout the story. For example, Shasta dreams about his future journey to Narnia before it happens.
  2. Imagery: Vivid descriptions are used to create mental pictures for the reader. For example, the description of the desert and the city of Tashbaan.
  3. Symbolism: Objects or characters represent abstract ideas. For example, the lion Aslan represents goodness and strength.
  4. Allusion: References to other literary works or historical events. For example, the Tisroc of Calormen is reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.
  5. Irony: A contrast between what is expected and what actually happens. For example, Shasta thinks he is a poor boy but is actually a prince.
  6. Metaphor: A comparison between two unlike things without using “like” or “as”. For example, Aravis is compared to a wildcat.
  7. Personification: Giving human traits to non-human things. For example, the wind is described as “singing”.
  8. Repetition: The use of repeating words or phrases to emphasize a point. For example, the phrase “Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah” is repeated several times.
  9. Dialogue: Conversation between characters is used to reveal information and move the story forward. For example, the conversations between Shasta and Bree.
  10. Flashback: A scene set in a time earlier than the main story. For example, the story of Prince Corin’s kidnapping.

Examples of Literary Devices 📋


The talking horsesThe talking horses, including Bree and Hwin, symbolize the importance of freedom and the ability to choose one’s own path in life. They are in contrast to the Tisroc’s war horses, who are treated as mere tools to be used for the benefit of their owners.
The lion AslanAslan symbolizes power, wisdom, and goodness throughout the Chronicles of Narnia series. In “The Horse and His Boy,” Aslan appears to guide and protect the protagonists, and his presence represents hope and the possibility of redemption.
The city of TashbaanThe city of Tashbaan, with its oppressive atmosphere and corrupt rulers, symbolizes the dangers of power and the misuse of authority. The contrast between Tashbaan and the freedom of the open desert highlights the importance of self-determination and the ability to make one’s own choices.


The mysterious strangerWhen Shasta meets the mysterious stranger who offers to buy him, it is a clear foreshadowing of the revelation that he is, in fact, a prince who was kidnapped as a child.
Aravis’s escapeAravis’s escape from her home in Calormen foreshadows her later escape from the city of Tashbaan with Shasta and the horses. It also establishes her as a character who is willing to take risks and defy authority to achieve her goals.
The approach of the lionsThe approach of the lions in the final battle foreshadows the appearance of Aslan, who is often associated with lions throughout the Chronicles of Narnia series.


The desertThe vast, open desert that Shasta and the horses must cross is described in vivid detail, with its scorching sun, treacherous terrain, and haunting beauty. The imagery emphasizes the isolation and danger of the journey, as well as the characters’ resilience and determination.
The city of TashbaanThe city of Tashbaan is described in rich detail, with its bustling markets, ornate architecture, and colorful characters. The imagery creates a vivid contrast with the simplicity and freedom of the desert, highlighting the oppression and corruption of the city.
The final battleThe final battle between the armies of Archenland and Calormen is described in vivid detail, with its clashing swords, flying arrows, and thundering hooves. The imagery creates a sense of chaos and danger, as well as the characters’ bravery and determination. Overall, the imagery in “The Horse and His Boy” serves to enhance the reader’s understanding of the characters, settings, and themes of the novel.

FAQs 💭

What are literary devices?

Literary devices are techniques that writers use to create meaning and enhance the impact of their writing. They include things like symbolism, foreshadowing, imagery, and irony.

What are some of the literary devices used in “The Horse and His Boy”?

Some of the literary devices used in “The Horse and His Boy” include symbolism, foreshadowing, imagery, allusion, irony, personification, dialogue, point of view, theme, and tone.

What is symbolism?

Symbolism is the use of objects, characters, or settings to represent abstract ideas or concepts. For example, the talking horses in “The Horse and His Boy” symbolize freedom and the ability to choose one’s own path in life.

What is foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing is a literary device that hints at events or plot points that will happen later in the story. For example, in “The Horse and His Boy,” Shasta’s encounter with the mysterious stranger foreshadows the revelation that he is a prince who was kidnapped as a child.

What is imagery?

Imagery is the use of descriptive language to create vivid mental pictures in the reader’s mind. For example, the descriptions of the vast, open desert in “The Horse and His Boy” create a sense of isolation and danger, while the descriptions of the city of Tashbaan emphasize its opulence and corruption.

What is allusion?

Allusion is the use of references to other works of literature, art, or history within a piece of writing. For example, the name “Bree” given to the talking horse in “The Horse and His Boy” is an allusion to the breed of horse known as the “Breton.”

What is irony?

Irony is a literary device in which the opposite of what is expected or intended happens. For example, in “The Horse and His Boy,” the fact that the Tisroc’s son is killed by a lion, despite his belief that lions are sacred and invulnerable, is an example of irony.

What is personification?

Personification is the attribution of human qualities to non-human objects or animals. For example, the talking horses in “The Horse and His Boy” are personified, as they possess the ability to communicate and reason like humans.