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Development Of Character In Cormac Mc Carthy's All The Pretty Horses

1382 words - 6 pages

Development of Character in Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses

In a journey across the vast untamed country of Mexico, Cormac McCarthy introduces All the Pretty Horses, a bittersweet and profoundly moving tale of love, hate, disappointments, joy, and redemption. John Grady sets out on horseback to Mexico with his best friend Lacey Rawlins in search of the cowboy lifestyle. His journey leaves John wiser but saddened, yet out of this heartbreak comes the resilience of a man who has claimed his place in the world as a true cowboy. In his journey John’s character changes and develops throughout the novel to have more of a personal relationship with the horses and Mother Nature. He changes ...view middle of the document...

However, he doesn’t see beyond the repercussions of owning a ranch, the dedication and responsibility associated with running a ranch. Mr. Franklin teaches him to look beyond the fact that owning a ranch is a not as simple as it might seem especially for a six-teen-year-old boy.

In his journey across the landscape of Mexico, John’s character in the novel begins to transform. He is beginning to move away from that boyish and naive kind of behavior and more towards the middle stage of between being a boy and a man; adolescence. McCarthy spends a great deal in describing John’s adolescent’s stage in this novel. Much of the time that McCarthy describes in this stage is when they are out on the prairie with the horses connecting with nature. This connection allows John to have and a clearer understanding that there is a divine line between men and horses and that you can’t apply the same characteristics that you would apply to a horse to a man.

In one instance, after a long day of riding John and Rawlins decide to stop for the night and rest. As he rests he lays on his back looking, “out where the quartermoon lay cocked over the heel of the mountain’s” the vision of the moon gives the reader a sense of time and how it can be different from time on the prairie compared to time in a society.. Time on the prairie seems to be “cocked” or suspended in time, a sense that time stands still and worries of the world seem to drift off into the unknown. However, in a society where man rules over Mother Nature to say, time is a valuable aspect. Without time, societies of men doesn’t work. As he continues his journey toward Mexico he starts to grow up and have more of an understanding of life. He is beginning to understand that life as he knew it doesn’t exist. He is starting to understand that life is very chaotic and unpredictable and much of the simple characteristics that you can apply to horses don’t exist at all for men. John understands this concept when he thinks to himself of, “contemplating the wildness about him, the wildness within.” The wildness about him refers to the wildness of mature nature and the horses, while the wildness within describes the chaotic and unpredictable life John is beginning to experience. John learns that life is not so simple; it is a very complex. There is a parallel connection between these two phrases, on one hand you have the Mother Nature and then on the other you have society. It is up to John to chose which path he will accept.

This distinct line between the two is described beautifully by McCarthy. In one instance McCarthy describes John is trying to break 17 horses in four days. This is a remarkable task to his fellow workers. Trying to tame the wildness and terror out of the horses takes courage and patience. With...

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