Character Analysis: All The Pretty Horses

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Throughout “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy, the main character John Grady Cole is submitted to many evils as he tries to find his own place in the world. In his own personal quest for a happy ending, John represents the idealized cowboy of the Old Wild West uncovering the truth of the violent and deadly landscape he encounters. John Grady attempts to mesh together his romanticised cowboy honor code into a land that concedes nothing to nobility and the only winner is the one who survives. Only through his many trials and beatings does John Grady begin to accept the world for what it is, a place that does not contain only pretty horses; however, he still manages to remain true to himself and what he believes in. From the beginning of “All the Pretty Horses,” John Grady Cole faces threats from the modern world towards the cowboy life he admires so much. After his grandfather’s death, his mother decided to sell the family cattle ranch in order to pursue her career in acting and divorced his father; leaving nothing for John in his hometown of San Angelo. The night of his grandfathers funeral, John Grady “stood like a man come to the end of something.” (Page 5) Rather than face this end to his family’s lifestyle and come to terms with it, John decides to ride south to Mexico in…show more content…
Instead of having a good paying job on an oil rig in San Angelo, John Grady still wants to search for his own country. Despite the ending of “All the Pretty Horses” is not a happy one, John is finally able to mesh his romanticised ideals with the real world. Even if the Earth does not provide for a place anyone, John decides to make his own place by refusing to back away from his ideals and instead chase after them. He would much rather attempt to live the life he wants, rather than adopt a life made for someone
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