All the Pretty Horses The Book and Its Analysis

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Unfortunately, not all great writers have all the works equally interesting, and what an incredibly important role for both the reader and the writer is played by which of these books falls into the hands of the reader first. Also, an important role in the process of forming the reader's opinion about the author is played by a certain stereotype, which consists of a subconsciously categorical opinion about the author's work, formed on the basis of this very first read work. Not every author is gifted enough to create such an amazing atmosphere, his novel All the Pretty Horses (1992) is about boys who, by the age of 16, already live their whole lives, who know how to earn money, get their own food, whose hands grow from the right place and to which the whole world is open. An excellent novel about growing up in an environment where civilization does not prevent people from growing up in unity with nature, strong, responsible and self-sufficient.

The Book and Its Analysis

All the Pretty Horses is the first novel in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, and it is probably impossible not to want to continue reading this trilogy. The way in which he can convey the atmosphere without resorting to flowery descriptions and lengthy reasoning is simply incredible. He is one of those few writers who only need one dry dialogue every twenty pages to develop characters. At the same time, the dialogues here do not indicate the speaker and, as such, punctuation marks (Chen 396). At the very beginning of the novel, the readers are shown a dialogue between two young men whose background is yet almost completely obscure. Nevertheless, there is no doubt about which of them says what.

All the Pretty Horses is liked by many of the author's style, his talent for describing nature, unhurried narration, and some charming atmosphere. The protagonist of the novel "All the Pretty Horses" is a teenager, the time of the story is already the middle of the 20th century, approximately 1949, his name is John Grady Cole. A 16-year-old romantic who loves horses loves everything about life on the ranch and loves freedom in the broadest sense of the word. Unsurprisingly, he is traumatized by the news that his mother plans to sell his grandfather's ranch and move to live in the city. It hurts so much that John Grady, in the company of his best friend Lacey Rawlins, decides to run away from home and go to Mexico to find a job to his liking (McCarthy 97; Chen 398). This reveals the largest themes of the novel, such as the rebellious nature of the youth as well as self-identification with a certain place that managed to gain a strong prominence to a young person.

And then follows a whole series of tests of the very independent and free life that the hero aspired to. Tests such that not every adult will be able to do. Time and time again, McCarthy raises the issue of moral choice, honor, friendship, and true love. And everything that happens on the pages is accompanied by nature, almost untouched by man, despite the time. It seems that nothing has changed over the past century, and Mexico still attracts freedom-loving Americans, however, as well as those who want to hide from American justice (McCarthy 40-41). In the novel, Mexico plays a role of a kind of hub of freedom-loving people who might have committed mistakes throughout their lives, but, at the same time, are ready to start all over.


The description of the situation in the book around the characters can add vitality, but not everyone can harmoniously weave everyday little things into the text. However, Cormac McCarthy did it well, the plot of the story is quite simple. Sixteen-year-old boy John Grady is trying to convince his mother not to sell the ranch after the death of his grandfather. The boy was born and raised in this house, loves horses, and does not see life without land. Mother plays in the theater and does not intend to move out of the city. Realizing that the ranch cannot be saved, John mounts a horse and leaves for Mexico with a friend to find his place in the world. Ahead of him is a harsh reality with pain, death, and love, which, however, brings the same pain and death.

Works Cited

Chen, Aihua. Review of Morality in Cormac McCarthy's Fiction: Souls at Hazard, by Russell M. Hillier. Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 101 no. 4, 2018, p. 396-400. Project MUSE

McCarthy, Cormack. All the Pretty Horses. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

June 24, 2022


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