The Horse Whisperer by Nicolas Evans comments on many cultural issues. He analyzes life and presents characters with depth and emotion. Protagonist Grace Maclean experiences every emotion imaginable throughout the course of the novel. Grace deals with emotions of confusion, depression, and happiness in a very short period of time. More importantly Evan’s shows the transition of Grace from a child to an adult. And carefully details the evolving relationship with her mother. In the beginning Grace expresses little and/or no emotion towards her mother Annie Maclean.
The novel does not provide details related to there relationship, yet it conveys emptiness. Annie provides insight into the relationship when she recalls a conversation between her and her daughter: “Why don”t we ever do this? ” Grace said, not looking up. Annie answered, rather too tartly, that she thought it was immoral, like product placement. And Grace had nodded thoughtfully, still not looking at her, “Uh-huh,” she said, matter-of-fact, flipping on to something else. “I guess people think you”re younger if you make out you haven”t got kids”.
This comment gives serious insight into Grace’s non-caring attitude towards her mother. Grace also does not look her mother in the face when speaking to her. This behavior whether intentional or not presents the lack of communication between daughter and mother. On one hand Grace is disrespecting the mother by not giving her mother the attention she deserves. And on the other hand Annie does not go out of her way to confront the problem. So in the area of communication, the blame is equally divided between them both.
Grace’s accident on her horse Pilgrim changed her life forever. Following the accident Grace falls into a coma which faces her with a difficult choice. This choice is symbolic of her willingness to continue with life and confront her problems. In the coma she encounters two lights, one that is bright and strong and one that is weak and dim. She chooses to go towards the dim light, which represents her life. It represents her life because even though dim she realizes that she has reason to strive to make it better. This action represents a maturity that was not there before.
The time that comes after the accident is challenging for Grace. Her struggles at school leave her feeling inept. Though she wants to continue as though everything is fine she sometimes questions her life. Grace’s relationship with Annie is at a standstill. Annie’s concerns about her daughter are reinforced when she says, “I saw you when she fell. You”ve got to stop feeling pity for her. Pity won”t help her at all” (88). She directs this comment towards Grace’s father Robert Maclean who seems to want to help Grace every time she’s in distress.
Annie’s comment establishes the fact that Grace has to help herself. And that deep down she wants to pick Grace up with her own hands, but knows that it would be for the worse. At this point Grace is realizing that improvement can only be reached on her own behalf. Everyone has to do things for themselves instead of waiting around for others. Grace matures on the spot when she visits pilgrim. She is in shock when she finds him injured and says, “No! Daddy, no! “(93). She utters those words to her father when she realizes how hurt her horse is.
It’s symbolic of the fact that you don”t always receive what you expect. Grace expected to see horse well and better, and she was faced with a grotesque situation. Yet this situation really makes her reflect and grow. Shortly after this situation Annie investigates horses and Grace and she drive there way to see the “Horse Whisperer”. This marks the beginning of a long healing process between mother and daughter. And for Grace this journey will be more than just about her horse, but rather about her soul.