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all the pretty horses

all the pretty horses - Lara Weems AP English Mr Dodd All...

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Unformatted text preview: Lara Weems AP English Mr. Dodd 8-8-06 All the Pretty Horses is a book of endings and death, which is shown clearly in the first chapter. Scene one of this book starts with the death of John Grady Coles grandfather. The setting is cold and windless, giving the reader a very bleak impression from the very start. John Grady Cole visits his grandfathers room where he is laying dead. The house is completely soundless. Thus the book begins, morbid from the first page. Cormac McCarthy writes this book in a time where the cowboy life is dying and becoming obsolete. The main character of this book, John Grady Cole, is a cowboy with romantic views of the wild west and its counterparts. Throughout the book, John Grady Cole searches for something more in life, something wild and rugged, like his dreams and plans for his life. He loves the life of a cowboy, but can find it no where in the industrially progressive United States. The end of the cowboy era is clearly shown in the first scene with the death of the grandfather, and selling of the ranch. The ranch represents all that John Grady Cole knows and grew up with. It represents his rustic cowboy side, the side of him that America is trying to pry away. In the first chapter, John Grady Cole tries many times to negotiate with his mother, trying to convince her not to sell the ranch, but all to no avail. She is as stubborn and dead set for selling the ranch as John Grady Cole is for keeping it. With the death of Johns grandfather, comes not only the death of the cowboy, but the death of the Grady name. All of John Grady Coles uncles died early in life, producing no children. With no ranch, no cowboy life, and no more Grady name, John Grady Cole feels he has nothing left for him in Texas. He then goes for a horse ride on an old Indian war trail. The war trail is foreshadowing of John Grady Coles future, showing a life of blood shed and death. While on the trail, Cormac McCarthy writes of the Indians past, saying, all of them pledged in blood and redeemable in blood only (5). John Grady Cole will learn later in the book that all things must have a blood sacrifice for them. Whether it be the theft of a horse, or a romance with a beautiful girl, all impure things have a punishment, and in Mexico, the price is paid with blood. Being on this war trail shows John Grady Cole that he must leave Texas and find his own land where cowboys survive, and fight, and struggle. A land where he can be a hero, have a love, and be a mans man. After coming to this epiphany, the book is quoted saying, [John Grady] stood like a man come to the end of something (5). While John Grady, and his best friend, Lacey Rawlins, leave for Mexico, they stop and look at their map. The map shows the Rio Grande, past this is unclear, uncharted territory. The boys live the next several months living in areas that are unknown to civilized man, and seemingly, unknown to God. Evil is a true thing in Mexico. It goes about on its own legs (195). ...
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